Tips for Easy Transition in to ICD-10 Medical Coding System

by | Last updated Jul 1, 2023 | Published on May 21, 2014 | Articles, Resources | 0 comments

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With the ICD-10 implementation date set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) speedily approaching on October 1, 2014, many health care providers is still not prepared to take the leap from ICD-9 to ICD-10.

When compared to just 13,000 diagnostic codes in ICD-9-CM, the ICD-10-CM consists of not more than 68,000 codes. While much hype has been created about ICD-10 implementation, most physician practices or health care groups do not possess adequate knowledge about this new coding system. They are quite concerned about the new changes that ICD-10 transition will possibly create. Hence, healthcare providers need to do a lot of ground work in this area and prepared to deal with the transition in to ICD-10-CM.

One of the most important aspects of this transition process is realizing the fact that changing one-end of a coding process will lead to significant changes in other parts of the process as well. Hence, identifying where those other changes are, measuring the impact of the same and alleviating the negative effects of those changes (if any) will be an ideal alternative.

According to a study by Aloft Group (an international brand strategy and marketing execution firm) in February 2014, nearly half of US health care providers had completed only 25 percent or less of their ICD-10 implementation process. As per the study results, more than 60% of providers cited physician buy-in as a conversion obstacle and 46.1% mentioned lack of time as a problem. Also 39% had identified financial resources as an important obstacle in conversion.

Later, the American Medical Association had asked CMS to extend the October 1, 2014 conversion deadline. Around 45% of the surveyed population stated that they don’t agree with the extension of conversion deadline and 25% said they support the conversion deadline extension. However, CMS officials have made it clear that won’t be changing the conversion deadline.

Implementation of ICD-10 coding system will bring about more specificity in documentation, medical coding and billing system. Hence, it is very crucial for health care providers to get ready for the ICD-10 transition failing which will directly lead to revenue loss. The article describes certain important factors to be considered health care providers to smoothen ICD-10 transition process.

  • Create a Plan – Creating a new plan is essential for the successful transition of ICD-10 medical coding system. Prepare a detailed list of all systems that presently include diagnostic codes (whether they comprise of electronic or diagnostic codes) and update the same for ICD-10.
  • Perform Risk Assessment – It is crucial to make a significant work assessment about ICD 10 to identify how its implementation will significantly impact the workflow and total revenue of your health care practice. This in turn will help to minimize potential errors.
  • Develop Training – Medical coders need to possess strong knowledge about the different ICD-10 codes and should receive adequate training about the same. When compared to ICD-9 coding system, ICD-10 includes a number of additional codes. It is crucial for coders to understand the common codes that are useful for every specialty. Review the performance of coders and billing staff and their knowledge about the coding procedure. This will make it possible to identify the coding staffs that need training. Separate training should be provided to in house coders and billing staff about the new code sets. Some of the common training methods are translation software, dual coding and platform based education programs. Moreover, physicians need to be made clear about the new responsibilities they need to handle upon the implementation of ICD-10.
  • Know Points of Contact for ICD-10 – It is very important for health care providers to know about the points of contact for ICD-10 coding system which includes coding, billing or claims submission, lab or imaging orders, denials or appeals, medical records and lab or imaging orders.

The expected benefits of ICD-10 medical coding system implementation includes improved patient care, greater efficiency, on-time reimbursement, provide strong reputation, access to superior quality information and reduced hassle of audits. This enhances total productivity and revenue.

By selecting a reliable and established medical billing and company, it is possible to realize all the important benefits associated with ICD-10 implementation. It is better for health care providers to employ the services of professional coding specialists who are well versed with all major and new coding and billing practices. Moreover, sufficient time should be given to the staff to make successful ICD-10 transition.

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