Healthcare providers beginning to take ICD-10 preparation seriously

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As the deadline approaches for the transition to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) codebase, care organizations and healthcare IT professionals are beginning to take the impending change of regulation seriously, according to a survey that was conducted by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

Although the deadline is still two years away from implementation, the survey suggested that increased numbers of healthcare providers are preparing for the transition. Last year, 62 percent of care organizations polled stated they were actively preparing for the change, compared to 85 percent this year. The date by which healthcare providers must be in compliance with the new regulations is October 1, 2013.

In addition to preparatory measures, many healthcare organizations have dedicated more significant budgetary resources to implementing the ICD-10 codebase across their healthcare IT infrastructures and clinical informatics networks. According to the report, a lack of financial planning was cited by many healthcare providers as a substantial barrier in preparing for the transition to the new code.

“Because the scope and complexity of the transition are significant, it is critical for organizations to plan their implementation strategies carefully in order to leverage ICD-10 investments and move beyond mere compliance to attain a strategic advantage,” wrote the authors of the report, as quoted by Healthcare IT News. “Organizations that are not prepared could face major billing headaches and loss of compensation since claims submitted after the October 2013 deadline not using the upgraded coding language will be rejected.”

The report also indicated that while 80 percent of inpatient facilities had conducted an ICD-10 impact analysis, only 49 percent had committed to taking measurable action based on their studies. The results also suggested that while 85 percent of inpatient healthcare facilities would likely rely on face-to-face training to ensure that code is ICD-10 compliant, more than 71 percent of other healthcare organizations plan to make use of web-based or off-site training.