Im­ple­ment­ing ICD-10 is an ur­gent pri­or­ity

ICD-10 im­ple­men­ta­tion now im­por­tant and ur­gent ahead of 2013 dead­line

Modern Healthcare - - MODERN HEALTHCARE - Lynne Thomas Gor­don Lynne Thomas Gor­don is CEO of the Amer­i­can Health In­for­ma­tion Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion.

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

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.

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