ICD-10 delay doesn’t help patients

Physician industry leaders discuss their thoughts on ICD-10 and the 'doc-fix' patch vote

While the House was voting on the ‘doc-fix’ patch yesterday, a group of physician industry leaders gathered at the Art of Medicine technology panel in Boston to discuss the challenges facing doctors, the impact of government policies, and future health IT innovations that can help restore the “art of medicine” that is central to the physician–patient connection and to healing.  Many topics were discussed, but the pertinence of the regulatory demands and the ICD-10 delay took center stage.  Here are some of their thoughts on the current situation:

“As for the ICD-10 delay, the train has left the station, but I am sure there are many clinicians who would be please about a delay in Meaningful Use Stage 2 instead!” – Dr. John Halamka, CIO Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

“Stop overly fixating on other things and restore connectivity between patients and caregivers…We are about to code in ICD-10— codes that are not germane to the care I am providing to my patients.  We are looking at policy issues that have real implications and we need to point out that they are having complications that policy makers didn’t anticipate.” – Dr. Steven Stack, Past Chair of the American Medical Association

“Our first job is to care for our patients.  Documentation has been, and always will be, second.  This is our role, and we need start designing solutions to make this documentation as efficient as possible, supplementing it with tools that let our clinicians see more patients and deliver much-needed care.” – Dr. Adam Landman, CMIO Health Information Innovation and Integration, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

“We have increased the size and volume of the data we are capturing by 10, but we just aggregate it with no plan.  We need to know what is our work product and how do we measure it — how are we optimizing the detailed data we are being asked to provide?” – Dr. Keith Dreyer, Vice Chairman of the Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital

“ICD-10 was never designed for billing.  Our current billing system is state-of-the-art for 1850.” – Dr. John Halamka

 “We all agree that usability is an issue, or patient engagement is an issue, but we’re too busy creating ICD-10 codes to work through these issues.  Health IT and the practice of medicine, in many ways, have been co-opted by regulatory demands.” – Dr. John Halamka

 “We are now faced with a level of complexity, as seen with ICD-10, where you need seven seemingly random digits to ensure you will have the money to keep providing care to your patients and keep the lights on in your office.”  – Dr. Steven Stack

To learn more about what physicians are saying, be sure to check out the Art of Medicine webpage.  In the coming weeks, we will share more insights from our panelists.

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