ICD-10: Ready, set, code

Much has been said about the politics and jockeying of groups behind the scenes, lobbying either for or against ICD-10. That’s not going to change. Healthcare providers must be proactive and plan for ICD-10 compliance, while also being agile enough in their planning to realize that another course correction may lie ahead.
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In its latest news, CMS announced that Oct. 1, 2015 is the ‘new’ final ICD-10 compliance date. “ICD-10 codes will provide better support for patient care, and improve disease management, quality measurement and analytics,” argues CMS in its July 31 announcement.  I could not agree more!

My advice is stay positive, nimble and be wise by reading between the lines. Much has been said about the politics and jockeying of groups behind the scenes, lobbying either for or against ICD-10. That’s not going to change. Our current administration in Washington, DC has been riddled with constant criticism and commentary scandals and may view the transition to ICD-10 as risky. All healthcare providers must be proactive and plan for ICD-10 compliance, while also being agile enough in their planning to realize that another course correction may lie ahead.

What steps do you do now to ramp up readiness efforts?

  1. Stay the course!  You have an ICD-10 transition plan at hand; move forward with it.   Update your ICD-10 project plans with dates and deliverables, built for an October 1, 2015 compliance date.
  2. Be nimble.  Don’t ever find yourself thinking ‘black and white.’  We must expect the unexpected. If the government changes the deadline again, you adjust and do a course correction, but you don’t stop and never blow up your plan.
  3. Focus on improving clinical documentation integrity throughout the patient stay. Be the champion for clinical documentation improvement (CDI) and focus on getting the right information into the right medical record at the right time because this will have a positive impact on quality, reimbursement, and coding regardless of shifting dates.
  4. Leverage technology to enhance your clinical documentation and coding workflow. Many providers use many manual processes, for instance,, Spreadsheets and sticky notes, for clarifications and queries in medical records and emails to physicians. Take this opportunity to assess your workflow and plan for technology-enabled solutions for assisting your medical staff and clinical documentation specialists with your CDI program and coding/compliance.
  5. Now you have 14 months to develop a customized dual coding program plan for your organization.
  6. Know your own data!  Identify your high impact surgical procedures in various clinical specialties and train your coders the nuances of coding in ICD-10-PCS.

Stay positive, plan for success and always be willing to course correct should there be a shift in the ICD-10 compliance date.

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Going to AHIMA's CDI Summit?

Be sure to stop by and hear Dr. Paul Weygandt, vice president of physician services, explore ways to fully engage your organization, from physicians to the c-suite, in clinical documentation improvement at the CDI Summit at the Grand Hyatt Washington, in Washington, DC from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Learn more

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Bonnie Cassidy

About Bonnie Cassidy

Bonnie Cassidy is the senior director of health information management (HIM) innovation for Nuance, where she oversees the development and implementation of HIM strategies. She currently serves on the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM) Board of Directors, is a Fellow of AHIMA, an AHIMA Academy ICD-10-CM/PCS Certificate Holder and ICD-10 Ambassador, and a Fellow of HIMSS. Prior to joining Nuance, Bonnie served as the vice president of HIM product management & innovation at QuadraMed, and served as an executive with the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT), Ernst & Young and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. She was the 2011 President/Chair of AHIMA. Bonnie received her graduate degree from Cleveland State University and her Bachelor’s Degree in HIM from Daemen College. Bonnie grew up in Buffalo, NY, lived in Cleveland, OH and has been a resident of Atlanta, GA for 17 years. She considers the Bills, the Browns and the Falcons her hometown teams.