ICD-10 Madness: Most Providers Aren't Ready - InformationWeek

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11/4/2011
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ICD-10 Madness: Most Providers Aren't Ready

A KLAS survey finds the vast majority of healthcare organizations are only in the early stages of IDC-10 preparation; many don’t have a clue what it will cost.

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With a little less than two years to go before the ICD-10 compliance deadline, a KLAS survey shows that only 9% of respondents are more than halfway through their ICD-10 readiness preparations. The report also noted that for many large and mid-sized hospitals, ICD-10 conversion work will cost several millions of dollars.

The report, ICD-10: Preparing for October 2013, relied on interviews with 163 healthcare providers. Eighty-three percent said they are in the early stages of their preparation while 8% said they had not started at all.

For those further along, a clearer picture has begun to emerge of the complexity and cost of implementation. According to the report: "Many large health systems are budgeting tens of millions of dollars, and while midsize hospitals will spend less, some are still planning to spend several million dollars."

"I was surprised that a lot of the people I spoke with at the Health Information Management (HIM) director level say they don't know how much it will cost," Graham Triggs, the report's author, told InformationWeek Healthcare. "Those who are being more progressive about preparing for ICD-10 indicated it's going to be an extremely expensive proposition and that's something that I think providers need to start wrapping their arms around."

[Legally, EHRs are double-edged swords: They protect clinicians from malpractice litigation but also put them at greater risk. See Will Your EHR Land You In Court?]

With a deadline of October 2013, providers still have time to prepare for the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 code sets for claims, remittance advice, referral authorizations, and eligibility inquiries, but the window of opportunity to prepare for the work ahead is closing, and relying on the resources of third-party firms for help will be a bigger challenge as the time draws near.

More than half the respondents (54%) said training was their number-one concern; physician and nurse readiness was second (44%); time, money, and resources placed third at 36%; and technology was fourth at 28%.

"ICD-10 is much more than a one-time technology change. It will require the training of various hospital staff and significant changes in workflow, and it will have an ongoing effect on multiple departments and systems," the report states.

With nearly two-thirds of providers saying they plan to use third-party firms to help them prepare for ICD-10, Triggs said they must be mindful of the complexity of ICD-10 conversion work and the timeline in which to complete the task.

"We feel that the longer you wait the more difficult it will be to find qualified resources to be able to help you prepare," Triggs said. "We encourage providers who are considering using third parties to begin to address that issue by putting together a budget and beginning talks with third parties as soon as possible because if you're planning on doing that in the second quarter of 2013 you may be having a difficult time finding the appropriate resources."

The bright side of the conversion to ICD-10 is that "this will result in all providers being on the current versions of their software, which will facilitate an easier transition into other initiatives such as Accountable Care Organizations and health information exchanges," the report said.

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