Electronic Health Records

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CIOs, HIM Pros Are ICD-10 Ready After Years of Preparation

By Sara Heath

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) maintain CIOs are ready for ICD-10, according to a recent press release. Although it has been a long road of IT preparation, CHIME states that the healthcare industry is ready to take this “major step forward in being able to capture more detailed data about patients and their conditions.”

Acknowledging that ICD-10 has approximately five times the amount of codes as ICD-9, CHIME states that this transition will help build medical records and help collect more patient data to ultimately improve the quality and price of care.

It has been a long road to reach this point of preparation, CHIME says, one that has entailed large efforts on the part of health IT professionals. Between implementing new data systems and running preparedness checks, CHIME says that chief information officers have been an integral part in getting ready for the October 1 implementation date.

“After years of implementing new IT systems, testing and training, hospital chief information officers are ready for the switch,” CHIME says. “Most hospitals and health systems have spent the last several months doing end-to-end testing with their payer partners and working to iron out any glitches. Additionally, they’ve spent countless hours training physicians and coders on the intricacies of ICD-10.”

Other professionals are also seeing ICD-10 implementation as a positive step for the healthcare industry. At the 2015 AHIMA Convention, AHIMA officials expressed excitement for the transition. According to AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA, ICD-10 will enhance the quality of care for patients by providing a more complete and detailed data set.

“As an active leader, supporter and advocate for ICD-10, AHIMA is pleased that the greater detail inherent in the code set will reverse the trend of deteriorating health data and tell a more complete and accurate patient story,” she said.

Although HIM professionals seem optimistic as the ICD-10 deadline approaches, many physicians do not. In a recent poll conducted by SERMO, 93 percent of respondents report that they fear payment delays in the wake of the implementation, even with CMS’s grace period. Another 91 percent fear those delays will persist even one year following implementation.

A Texas Medical Association study also shows a lack of physician preparedness. According to the study, approximately 65 percent of physicians report “little to no confidence” in ICD-10 preparedness. In fact, the potential for ICD-10 disaster leaves 46 percent of physicians age 61 or older considering early retirement should the transition go poorly.

Despite these fears of revenue cycle disruption, AHIMA states that ICD-10 transition could be a good thing for healthcare spending. Because of the detail of data ICD-10 codes will collect, it will be easier to streamline healthcare spending to be more efficient.

“Not only will the data more effectively measure quality, safety and efficacy of care, it will reduce fraud—making sure that healthcare dollars are used most efficiently,” Thomas Gordon stated.

As HIM professionals put the finishing touches on their ICD-10 preparations, it may now be up to healthcare professionals as a team to ensure genuine efforts for a smooth transition.

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