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Stephen O'Connor

By: Stephen O'Connor on July 21st, 2014

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3 Things To Do While Waiting for ICD-10

Healthcare Advice

3-things-to-do-while-waiting-for-ICD-10Since the U.S. government recently extended the deadline for the mandatory transition to the International Classification of Diseases version 10 from ICD-9, many managers at medical practices and other organizations are breathing a sigh of relief because they weren’t quite prepared to make the change yet.

If you’re among their ranks, you will want to take advantage of the additional time to get all your ducks in a row and make sure your staff will be in a good position to implement and use ICD-10.

Organizations now have until October 1, 2015 to make the switch to ICD-10, giving them one additional year to get ready to use the latest version of the code, which is developed and maintained by the World Health Organization. In the meantime, here are three things to do while waiting for ICD-10.

1. Consult with Third Parties

Get in contact with any third parties that might be affected by the new ICD-10 deadline. For example, make sure that insurance organizations will be on track to use the new code with you, so you can avoid possible delays in processing claims properly.

It’s also very important to make sure that your software provider will be up to the task. Contact the developer of your Electronic Health Records application to ensure that it will fully support the ICD-10 codes by the new deadline. You will want to go with a software company that has a good track record of updating medical applications in the face of regulatory and industry changes.

2. Conduct More Training

It’s possible that your staff has not undergone extensive training in ICD-10 yet, since the original deadline for making the transition was October 1, 2014. Why not take advantage of the extra year and arrange for more training for your staff? You can reduce or even eliminate poor documentation by taking the time to study the code.

When your team has more time and resources to practice making entries with the new code, you will be much more prepared to make the switch. Many practices find it useful to do dual coding to help the team practice and minimize mistakes.

3. Consider Hiring a Consultant

Sometimes you have to call in experts to get you to the next level in your medical practice. If your team has been overextended lately and hasn’t been able to go over all the logistics for the switch to ICD-10, it might indicate that it’s time to call in a consultant.

An objective consultant can help you identify weak areas now, so you won’t be surprised during the switch and run into delays in your cash flow because of a poor implementation. The consultant should also tell you where your team is strongest in ICD-10, so you can allocate your training resources more effectively.

Change is often difficult for organizations that must deal with a large amount of regulatory compliance from industry and the government. It’s natural for staffers to grow a bit complacent once they have mastered the system you currently use. You can see why they would be resistant to making a transition because they don’t want to disrupt or delay the care you provide to all your patients.

Nevertheless, now that you have an extra year to prepare for ICD-10, you will want take advantage of the time to do more training, practice, and consult with any 3rd parties that might be impacted.

Key Takeaway:

  • The World Health Organization is responsible for updating and managing the International Classification of Diseases for the global medical community.
  • The U.S. government has extended the deadline to implement ICD-10 from ICD-9 to October 1, 2015.
  • Medical organizations need to take advantage of the additional year granted by the government to do extra training with their staff on ICD coding.
  • You will want to consult with third parties, such as insurance providers and software developers, to make sure there will be no problems with the transition.

Prepare for ICD-10! Download our whitepaper, 13 Essential Steps for Becoming ICD-10 Compliant!

About Stephen O'Connor

As a Director of Digital Marketing at Advanced Data Systems Corporation, Stephen spends his day's planning, writing, & designing resources for the modern healthcare professional. He has a strong affinity for snow crab legs, the ocean, and Rutgers Football.