Implementing ICD-10 is an urgent priority
ICD-10 implementation now important and urgent ahead of 2013 deadline
Healthcare leaders are juggling multiple pressures, including the consistent delivery of high-quality patient care, evaluation and development of accountable care organizations, the careful management of sensitive patient data, achieving meaningful-use criteria, making the most efficient use of the newest technology and stretching revenue to maintain end-to-end coverage of their bottom lines.
With so many priorities, it’s easy to become distracted from managing important changes such as the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, or ICD-10. But there’s an urgent date on our calendars: the HHS’ final implementation date of Oct. 1, 2013, is a hard deadline that will trigger dramatic, though different, consequences for both those who will be prepared for the change and those who won’t. ACO reimbursement, bundled payments, clinical quality measures and public profiles will be based on ICD-10 data.
Given the high stakes, it is imperative that healthcare leaders avoid getting so caught up in the day-to-day that we fail to prepare properly for the many important changes that the ICD10 conversion will demand from us.
The change to ICD-10 provides the U.S. the chance to discard the technologically outdated, medically inferior ICD-9 coding system and join all other World Health Organization member nations that have been successfully using ICD-10 to manage patient data for more than 15 years. Healthcare leaders will find that the more granular ICD-10 codes will provide opportunities to improve workflows, dive into quality improvement initiatives, demonstrate the severity of conditions being treated and participate with the rest of the developed world in the meaningful exchange of patient data for matters related to public health, scholarly research and the overall advancement of global health information management.
While multiple surveys conducted by AHIMA over the past year-and-a-half show promising signs that healthcare organizations are now making progress in planning for the ICD-10 conversion (85% of respondents recently indicated that they had begun work on ICD-10 planning and implementation), much work still remains if we’re to continue meeting implementation milestones. There is very little time for any industry providers or professional communities involved in data set management to lag behind or experience untimely delays.
ICD-10 implementation will put the U.S. in sync with the rest of the world and set the stage for ICD-11
In accepting health information management’s role in keeping ICD-10 implementation running on schedule, AHIMA remains committed to providing the education, planning and training resources needed to help providers make a smooth and efficient transition and avoid time-consuming setbacks. In early 2012, AHIMA will launch a comprehensive coder training program to prepare our current coding professionals for the transition to ICD-10. This “just in time” program will allow coding professionals to prepare and practice with ICD-10 prior to its 2013 implementation.
AHIMA has recommended a series of implementation steps, timelines and completion dates to help provider organizations plan and monitor their own progress. We also offer tools to help achieve reasonable implementation goals, allowing for variances according to each organization’s size, structure and resources, including a role-based implementation model that can be found at ahima.org/icd10.
It’s quite reasonable to ask, even at this stage of the transformation process, why ICD-10 adoption has become so suddenly urgent. The situation is urgent precisely because we have taken so long to get to a point of mandated transformation. It’s even more urgent when we understand the benefits we will derive from our having made a comprehensive upgrade to our patient record nomenclature.
Also, ICD-10 adoption and implementation is important now to ensure that the U.S. is in sync with the rest of the world’s developed healthcare systems as they prepare for the future transition to ICD-11. Ensuring that the U.S. and other developed countries avoid operating two code sets will facilitate worldwide participation in global health activities such as bio-surveillance and epidemiological studies. And with ICD-11 a modified descendent of ICD-10, the U.S. will be able to build upon the lessons learned from the first transformation to facilitate the second.
AHIMA has already amassed the most comprehensive ICD-10 preparation program in the industry with offerings that include recommended timelines, an ICD-10 “playbook,” academies to train-the-trainer, textbooks, audio conferences, online courses and role-based models. We offer practicing health information management professionals a complete menu of resources, many of them free of charge. The result of this commitment, as many as eight out of every 10 professionals responding to a recent membership survey mentioned AHIMA as their “preferred training source” in preparing for ICD-10. AHIMA continues to be committed to being the association for certified and credentialed health information management professionals who are leaders dedicated to ensuring data integrity in a 21st century electronic environment.
Whatever changes may come in the future, AHIMA will maintain its obligation to the health information management profession, those who practice that profession and the healthcare industry best served by a highly skilled health information management professional workforce. We long ago accepted this role of leadership for health information management to accomplish our mission of helping produce the highest quality healthcare data.