ICD-10 Effects on Healthcare Operations and Information Technology

Sweeping changes to the healthcare industry are soon to take affect in less than 90-days. On October 1, 2015, ICD-10 will replace the current ICD-9 system for medical diagnosis and inpatient procedure coding. The consequences for failing to comply with new regulations are severe, as medical practices will no longer be able to be reimbursed for their services using the old ICD-9 codes. Conversely, those practices that have been proactive in implementing ICD-10 changes should experience the benefits of an uninterrupted billing cycle.

Since these new changes are largely centered on advances in technology, it’s only natural that practitioners will also be forced to change how they operate internally – particularly on the IT side of the equation. So what can be expected with ICD-10 implementation?

ICD-9 codes will need to be inventoried.

Think the old ICD-9 codes will just be tossed and that’s it? Not even close. Your switch to ICD-10 begins with an analysis of all the areas of your practice that currently use the ICD-9 codes. This inventory process will be a collaborative effort between IT experts and organizational leaders as they may each have separate knowledge about computer systems or software that are currently in use. This will include the practice’s revenue cycle, health information management, and overarching clinical systems. This process may take upwards of up to 9 months to complete, so practices that haven’t yet started are at an obvious disadvantage. And in Texas, worker’s compensation claims will still be processed using the old ICD-9 codes.

System software will require updating.

An ICD-10 readiness analysis can be a real eye opener, revealing redundant, antiquated systems and software that need to be replaced. That’s not to say that your systems will necessarily need to be replaced, but that possibility is real. Since one of the biggest benefits of switching to ICD-10 is improved coding efficiency and accuracy, this may actually be a perfect opportunity to reassess how your practice conducts itself electronically and whether or not systems could become more responsive and agile. Don’t delay in this regard, as you will have to reach out to vendors you work with to ensure their systems will indeed be ready for the transition.

This is not a short or simple process.

If you haven’t started the transition process yet, you are behind the power curve. There are a variety of issues that need to be addressed to make sure your practice is ready to meet the new ICD-10 changes. How you handle the transition to ICD-10 between now and October 2015 will be a large indicator as to if your practice will continue to be competitive in your market.

For more information regarding the ICD-10 switch and to conduct a complete analysis of your practice’s viability moving forward, contact Concordis Practice Management today.

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