Protecting Revenue Cycles in the ICD-10 Transition
The following article is an excerpt from Healthcare IT News. It was written by Barbara Allen.
There’s no question the transition to ICD-10 will bring with it a significant loss in coder productivity. If left unaddressed, this loss of productivity will cause hospitals to get bills out more slowly. And if addressed incompletely, it will cause hospitals to incur excessive expense in increased coder headcount.
Fortunately, there is still time to greatly narrow the productivity gap to protect revenue and to minimize the need to add coding resources that are increasingly difficult to secure. The key is to move quickly and with precision in addressing the root causes of productivity loss.
How ICD-10's Newness and Complexity Can Cause a Loss of Productivity
ICD-10 productivity loss stems from both the coding system’s newness and complexity. The fact that coders must master a completely different coding system means that experienced coders face a steep learning curve until they hit peak productivity, and those entering the profession have much more to master than in the past to become fully productive. Even when coders reach peak performance with ICD-10, they will perform at a slower pace than in ICD-9 simply because of the tremendous increase in complexity.
The short- and long-term impact of ICD-10 on coder productivity poses two questions of HIM departments if they are to achieve ICD-10 readiness efficiently and effectively:
- Do you know precisely what aspects of ICD-10 are slowing down your coders so that you can address them head-on to minimize productivity loss?
- Can you quantify the remaining productivity loss so that you can know precisely what resources you need to add?
The most common approach to ICD-10 readiness is to train coders with e-learning and dual-coding, but that won’t provide an answer to either of these questions. It also won’t necessarily lead to coder performance improvement unless accompanied by productivity tracking and extensive coding review and feedback as the basis for continuing coder education. The shortcoming of dual-coding is that it doesn’t direct attention to what is actually slowing down the individual. Random, untargeted dual-coding is also inefficient, with coders spending time on aspects of ICD-10 that aren’t causing issues as well as those that are.
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