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Ready or not: ICD-10 deadline is coming

February 04, 2014

The deadline for ICD-10 compliance is less than eight months away; is your organization ICD-10-ready? According to a recent article in Healthcare IT News, a mid-December 2013 survey from Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange reported that approximately 80 percent of participants have not begun testing—and only half have undergone the initial step of conducting an impact assessment. The ICD-10 codes were finalized in 1992, and in 2009, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services set a “final” deadline for implementation of Oct. 1, 2013, which later on was pushed to Oct. 1, 2014. So what is holding healthcare organizations back from making headway in their ICD-10 implementation?  

ICD-10 Transformation Challenges

ICD-10 transformations are complex due to both technical and cultural challenges. For one, there are several technical differences between the updated code and its predecessor, ICD-9, including:

  • More than 9x more codes: ICD-9 has approximately 17,000 diagnosis and procedure codes; ICD-10 has about 155,000
  • Different structures: ICD-9 code sets are 3-5 characters in length, while ICD-10 sets are 3-7; plus, the arrangement of alpha and numeric characters is inconsistent between the two
  • More specificity: ICD-10 provides greater detail, leading to improved accuracy in billing, diagnosis and care

Even after all of these differences have been addressed and a system is using ICD-10 codes, comprehensive testing is required to ensure that the system is compatible and reporting accurately with other internal systems, as well as with external partner systems (e.g., between payer and provider systems).

In addition to these technical challenges, organizations face cultural and change management roadblocks. In order for end users to feel comfortable with the new codes and maintain productivity, they need to be trained and supported properly throughout the transition.

The demands to meet the implementation, training and end-user support needs that the ICD-10 transition requires can be overwhelming to internal IT teams and budget—especially considering this is just one of several high-priority initiatives facing the healthcare industry today. Organizations that want to be ICD-10 compliant by October are looking to healthcare IT (HIT) staffing and services partners to provide the skilled resources and expertise to help them overcome the ICD-10 obstacles standing in their way.

Case Study: TEKsystems Supports ICD-10 Transition for Large Midwest Health System

Last year, TEKsystems’ dedicated ICD-10 Support Services practice performed remediation efforts on an Epic electronic health record system for a large, Midwest-based health system. The healthcare provider was challenged in gathering an accurate estimate of hours required to remediate its network of over 150 locations. An internal estimate and an estimate performed by another third-party vendor both returned vastly different results. TEKsystems’ calculation—which was based on baseline average modules, unique tasks expected and complexity factors—yielded a savings of more than $500,000 in expected future costs for the client. TEKsystems went on to complete the remediation work within one month. To learn more about this engagement, read the full case study.

TEKsystems at HIMSS14

TEKsystems Healthcare Services will be at HIMSS14 February 24-26 in Orlando! Come visit us in booth No. 729 where you’ll have the opportunity to meet with our executive team and learn how TEKsystems can help solve complex clinical, business IT and HIT challenges.

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