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Why Is Moving to ICD-10 about More Than Dollars and Cents?

- The transition to ICD-10 will cost healthcare organizations and providers in a number of ways, not just in dollars and cents.

“The cost is not necessarily in dollars,” says Sandra Macica, MS, RHIA, CCS, ROCC, product specialist for the Revenue Cycle, Coding and Compliance at MC Strategies, a segment of Elsevier. “It’s cost of time, too. Some of our clients over a year ago mapped out three hours of training a week, starting over a year ago. It’s not real dollars per se, but it’s the time that they’re having to take away from the job that they already have to do in order to learn the new coding.”

That’s not to say that financial resources are any less significant in terms of the cost associated with moving to ICD-10. Costs can escalate if it is determined that staff requires different forms of education. Limited budgets can easily become strained.

“Learners don’t always learn one best way,” Macica explains. “Some people want online learning because then everyone has access to it, and other folks still want another component where they have actual live training with the speaker in front of the students, or combinations such.”

While it’s common to look at leading healthcare organizations for examples of best practices, it’s not necessarily possible for other healthcare organizations and providers to follow their models.

Take, for instance, one hospital that Macica is working with which is in the process of implementing dual coding.

“They feel it’s necessary and certainly that would put them way more ahead of anyone else,” she observes. “But that surely is going to take a whole lot more time, and it might only be where they do a couple records or maybe want to date or just a few a week. At least they’re starting it. I don’t know what the investment in that is, but it certainly seems like a huge one.”

In the end, those required to be complaint with ICD 10 by Oct. 1, 2014, need to use whatever resources they have to get their affected staff some form of hands-on training. “Without actually working with it — you can read books you can listen to people talk and you can do lessons — but until you actually try to do it yourself (those were actual workers in the trenches), that’s where you see where you’re going to run into your issues,” argues Macica.

According to Macica, that’s where you get to the heart of the matter. ICD-10 is a new experience for the industry. There is no history lesson to turn to. In this end, it comes down to be practical. “That’s not there right now, those support systems, so you just have to rely on commonsense sometimes,” she says.

 

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