A panel of ICD-10 experts spoke last week at a conference co-hosted by the New England Health Information and Management Systems Society and Maine Healthcare Financial Management Association in South Portland, Maine, giving advice about the five ‘gotchas’ that can wreak havoc on the best-laid plans for implementing the new coding system.
Janet Sayers, HIM/compliance manager at Applied Management Systems, Andrew Adams, senior manager at Ernst & Young and Dan Roy, ICD-10 project manager at MaineGeneral Health warned against these five potential pitfalls:
1. Reporting: Don’t take managers at their word when they tell you that their reporting won’t be affected by ICD-10. Dig a little deeper, and you’re likely to find they don’t understand things well enough to know just how much they will be affected.
2. Overlooking impacted areas: It’s not just the clinical side of hospitals and health systems that will be hit hard by ICD-10. Some experts suggest that the only areas that won’t feel the effects are the cafeteria and housekeeping.
3. Teaching old dogs new tricks: Don’t underestimate the impact on your organization’s coders who could need as much as 50 hours of training to become comfortable with ICD-10’s codes. Incentivize and support your coding staff.
4. Preparing for impact on productivity: Learn a lesson from Canada, which reports it took six months to return to pre-conversion productivity levels. Budget for reduced productivity.
5. Communicating with IT vendors: Smaller vendors, in particular, may not be as prepared for ICD-10 as they let on. You need a contingency plan because if a vendor is not ready in time, it will negatively impact your organization.
Rene Letourneau, Managing Editor, Healthcare Finance News