Compliance likely to remain significant challenge for healthcare IT personnel, says expert

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Many healthcare IT personnel could be facing increasing pressure to comply with federal mandates throughout 2012, according to Network Computing.

In addition to the heightened focus on compliance with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, many healthcare IT personnel have experienced pressure to implement medical informatics systems in order to comply with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ meaningful use financial incentive program.

The transition to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision (ICD-10) codebase was also cited as an area of key concern for healthcare IT personnel. The original deadline of October 2013 is currently being reconsidered by officials at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Marianne McGee, a senior writer for Information Week Healthcare, told the news source that balancing various federal compliance responsibilities is likely to become increasingly challenging throughout the remainder of the year.

“These mandates have been looming for awhile, such as the move from ICD-9 to ICD-10 for diagnosis and procedure coding, which has been delayed repeatedly,” said McGee, as quoted by the news source. “Increasingly, healthcare providers will be paid for the overall care of a patient. The key though is they’ve got to get these electronic health records in. You’re not going meet meaningful use requirements from the government unless you do.”

Recent surveys suggest that many healthcare IT departments are simply not prepared for the impending transition to ICD-10. According to Information Week, a poll conducted by the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) revealed that many healthcare facilities have yet to undertake initial impact assessments, and that such evaluations may not be conducted until next year.

Officials at the WEDI said the results of its annual survey were not surprising, and that many providers cited conflicting operational priorities and increased pressure for regulatory compliance as key obstacles to successfully preparing for the transition to the new codebase.

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