Computer-assisted coding becoming popular as ICD-10 deadline approaches

Despite the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) decision to extend the deadline for the transition to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision (ICD-10) by one year, many healthcare providers are examining ways to successfully transfer to the new codebase. According to Healthcare IT News, many facilities are turning to computer-assisted coding (CAC) tools to help them make the transition.

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The news source cited a report published by healthcare research and analytics firm KLAS that indicates a significant number of medical facilities plan to adopt a CAC system in the next two years. Results of the study suggest that CACs are becoming an integral part of many healthcare providers’ ICD-10 readiness strategies.

“Providers worry their staff will not be ready in time for ICD-10,” Graham Triggs, a research manager at KLAS and author of the report, told the news source. “Though the market is young and no vendor has fully proven itself in the inpatient space, provider confidence that computer-assisted coding technology will ultimately create greater efficiency, productivity and ICD-10 readiness is high.”

Fears of lost productivity

The original deadline for healthcare providers to migrate to the new coding system was October 2013. Although this was recently extended to October 2014, many healthcare facilities and care providers are anxious about losing the momentum gained prior to the announcement.

Lynne Thomas Gordon, chief executive officer of the American Health Information Management Association, told Information Week that the HHS’ decision to extend the ICD-10 deadline effectively penalizes healthcare providers who were on track to meet the original migration date. She added that the extension also creates problems for colleges and universities who developed curricula based on the original deadline.

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