Since the delay of ICD-10 until October 1, 2015 at the earliest, many healthcare organizations have questioned what the delay means to their existing ICD-10 implementation programs. At the time the delay was announced, most organizations fell into one of three categories in terms of ICD-10 readiness:
- The Prepared
- Those Getting Prepared
- Those Who Remain Out to Lunch
Organizations residing in the first two categories expressed frustration at the delay. They appropriately took control of their own fate, identified and managed risk, and prepared or were preparing their organization for this change. The third group however either held false hope their EHR/PM vendor would take care of everything, or they were banking on a delay.
Regardless of which category best describes your organization, the plan forward is simple: take the newly allotted timeline to get it right.
Many organizations have delayed other important transformative or IT efforts until after ICD-10 given their limited resources and the work effort necessary just to achieve ICD-10 compliance. Some organizations took a much broader strategy for their conversion, leveraging this challenge as an opportunity to better enable their physicians and clinical staff to optimize clinical documentation workflows – thus improving quality reporting and patient outcomes.
With the delay now in place, organizations should absolutely continue implementing their ICD-10 program. However, the delay does provide opportunities for ensuring the broader success of the ICD-10 program in preparing your organization to more effectively compete in the era of expanding value-based reimbursement models.
Organizations should take advantage of this opportunity by re-evaluating project scope. Identify opportunities for including other initiatives into the ICD-10 conversion program in order to more fully streamline clinical documentation workflows. Ensure your training program is inclusive of new workflows and EHR functionality, not just coding principles and requirements. Engage payers and intermediaries to ensure your testing program is robust. Expand your use of dual coding and evaluate reimbursement variance to prepare your organization for the downstream financial impacts. Optimize the use of informative, specifically predictive analytics and clinical decision support within the EHR.
ICD-10 poses several risks to a physician practice. Take advantage of the delay to not only ensure compliance, but also to improve your ability to manage your patient’s health.