How many roles does ICD-10 require healthcare leaders to play?

The ICD-10 transition has put HIM professionals to the test and has required leaders in the space to wear many different hats and play different roles. With ICD-10 just around the corner, HIM leaders have been head’s down and working around the clock to ensure their organizations are ready for the transition. I asked Laura Rizzo, Director of Health Information Management at WellSpan Health which type of leader she most closely identifies with while at work.
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ICD-10 has required HIM professionals many different leadership roles

The last twelve months leading up to the ICD-10 transition have been a whirlwind.  In fact, as I look back, I am in slight disbelief that ICD-10 is actually about to happen. At times, it has seemed a near impossible feat, while at other times, it’s been extremely exciting.  The amount of drama wrapped in this transition is worthy of the silver screen: full of politics, twists, and unexpected turns.

It has also put the spotlight on HIM professionals and has required leaders in the space to take center stage.  So I asked Laura Rizzo, Director of Health Information Management, at WellSpan Health, which fictional leader she most closely identifies with while at work?

  1. Scotty, from Star Trek, hands-on leader who is constantly being asked to do the impossible by his captain, but working with his team to cobble together a plan and devise a solution that gets the job done
  2. John “Hannibal” Smith, from The A-Team, hands-off leader who excels at developing strategic and well-orchestrated plans that always come together
  3. Angus MacGyver, from MacGyver, solo-operator who solves problems by transforming any and all available materials into working solutions
  4. Doc Brown, from Back to the Future, visionary who stays ahead of the tech curve, who in fact, defines the curve

Here’s her response:

“When I first read each character description, I considered if I truly related to any one of them.  In doing so, I realized that at any given point in time, I’ve been able to identify with any one of them.  I’ve been in leadership roles for 30+ years and have found that a key to success is being able to adapt to many different situations and to play a different role, depending upon the situation.  ICD-10 is no exception.  The false starts and stops have made all of us have to modify well-established plans and most challenging, keep the momentum to minimize re-work and assure preparedness.  Here’s how I have related to these fictional leaders throughout the long journey to ICD-10:

Scotty, from Star Trek:
When I think about Scotty, I think about the seemingly impossible task of educating a large workforce and providers on ICD-10 and assuring that the training is appropriate for each role.  Our Education Task Force worked together using the tools provided by AHIMA to develop a comprehensive training plan that included a combination of classroom, custom presentations, and on-line learning to meet organizational needs.  As a result, we are confident that from an education and training perspective, we are well-prepared for ICD-10.

John “Hannibal” Smith, from The A-Team:
Over the years, I’ve had to learn to “stay out of the weeds” and to delegate when appropriate.  However, there are times when it’s necessary to intervene and assure that necessary strategies are properly executed.  This happened recently when we had a significant backlog.  Our coding manager had a sound long-term plan, but we needed to execute my more aggressive, short-term plan.  My “well-orchestrated” plan had immediate results, put us in an ideal situation for ICD-10 go-live, and set the stage for the coding manager’s long term plan to be successful.

Angus MacGyver, from MacGyver:
I cannot think of a specific circumstance where I have been a solo-operator.  The success of a leader is truly based upon the ability to engage and motivate others.  I’ve been in my current role for 3 ½ years, and have been given the freedom to build a strong leadership team and together we have transformed HIM from a fledgling to a high-performing department.

Doc Brown, from Back to the Future:
Behind the “HIM Professional facade,” I believe that each of us has a Doc Brown hiding within!   Who doesn’t love to “let their hair down,” be a little crazy, and think outside the box once in a while?  In fact, it’s essential that leaders be authentic and vulnerable to gain the trust of the people that they lead.  It’s also important to stay ahead of the curve and take calculated risks to stay on top of the fast moving health care industry.  For ICD-10, we “defined the curve” by implementing an innovative coder retention bonus program in 2013.  The plan provides payments for achieved milestones and an accrued payment to be paid one year after the ICD-10 go-live date.”

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Bonnie Cassidy

About Bonnie Cassidy

This was a contributed post by Bonnie Cassidy. Bonnie serves as the 2015 Chair of 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. Bonnie also 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. Bonnie was the 2011 President/Chair of AHIMA, recipient of the 2014 AHIMA Distinguished Member Triumph Award and the 2015 (Georgia) GHIMA Distinguished Member Award. 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.