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How a Dermatology Practice Plans for the ICD-10 Transition

By Vera Gruessner

- Healthcare providers preparing for the ICD-10 transition have likely already implemented and upgraded health IT systems to handle the new coding set. There are a wide variety of products and vendors out on the market to help providers get ready for the coming ICD-10 transition deadline.

ICD-10 Transition Deadline

EHRIntelligence.com spoke with Dr. Gary Slaughter Jr., MD, specialist in Dermatology at North Carolina-based Charlotte Dermatology, to learn about the health IT system from Modernizing Medicine his practice has adopted for their future billing and ICD-10 coding needs.

EHRIntelligence.com: “What steps has your dermatology practice taken to prepare for the coming ICD-10 transition deadline?”

Dr. Gary Slaughter: “We have adopted Modernizing Medicine’s Electronic Medical Assistant® (EMA™) which has ICD-10 coding built in and that’s a Godsend. EMA Dermatology® has a 3D interactive atlas that facilitates coding. We can zoom in and zoom out of the body using the iPad and simply touch and tap on the affected body part.”

“The complexity that ICD-10 encompasses (for example, laterality) is already built in and automated in the system,” he explained. “My staff and I can already see the ICD-10 codes for our patient visits, so we’re confident that we’ll be ready on October 1.”

EHRIntelligence.com:What are some of the biggest challenges of switching over to the new coding set and planning for the ICD-10 transition deadline?”

Dr. Gary Slaughter: “We really don’t foresee any challenges from an electronic medical record (EMR) system perspective. My staff praises EMA Dermatology all day, since the algorithms can handle the switch over already.”

EHRIntelligence.com: “How has Modernizing Medicine’s EMA Dermatology system better prepared your practice for using ICD-10 codes? What are some benefits of this type of technology?”

Dr. Gary Slaughter: “When you have EMA Dermatology in place, the staff feels the safety of just using the system and the codes automatically being there. They just wonder how the providers that write on paper or use client-server systems are going to adapt to this change at the last minute. We don’t anticipate a slowdown on October 1, nor do we expect any rejections, which are two huge benefits.”

EHRIntelligence.com: “What is your perspective on the various bills being proposed in the House of Representatives to better ease providers into using the new coding set?”

Dr. Gary Slaughter: “They really need to do more to recognize the hard work of the practices and vendors that have already adapted and are ready. It’s a big step and other non-responding providers really think that this is optional due to the past delays, whereas it’s really a big change for the healthcare industry and we simply need to accept it.”

EHRIntelligence.com: “What needs to be done to get widespread adoption of Modernizing Medicine’s EMA Dermatology system?”

Dr. Gary Slaughter: “More providers around the country need to recognize how EMA Dermatology can improve their practices. It will take local providers sharing with area doctors and their staff that EMA Dermatology knows our workflow, has all the dermatology information built in and is ready for ICD-10.”

“They need to see it in action!” Slaughter exclaimed. “While the demo shows functionality and the many bells and whistles, it’s not the real world; practicing physicians who show the key points of speed, ease of use, efficacy and patient satisfaction will help convert other dermatologists and convince them that EMA Dermatology is the way to go.”

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