Survey further emphasizes problems with ICD-10 deadline

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The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) decision to consider extending the deadline for the transition to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision (ICD-10) codebase may be supported by a recent survey conducted by the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), reports Information Week.

More than 2,000 healthcare providers, 231 healthcare IT vendors and 242 health plans were polled as part of the WEDI survey. More than half of respondents remained unclear as to when they will begin their initial impact assessments of how the migration to ICD-10 will affect their business.

Despite the fact that the original deadline of October 2013 is fast approaching, as many as one-third of survey participants indicated they would not commence with initial impact assessments until next year. Although some healthcare providers have already completed their evaluations, more than one-quarter have not yet begun, lending support to speculation that the HHS will extend the deadline.

“The survey results were not that surprising,” Jim Daley, chairman-elect of WEDI’s board, told the news source. “WEDI has been conducting these surveys since 2009, so we were able to see that the industry was falling behind. “In 2010 we revised the timeline based on organizations’ status, and then we began to see the organizations falling behind based on that new revised schedule.”

Even though many healthcare IT personnel need additional time to prepare for the migration to the new codebase, the HHS’ delay in confirming the new deadline has been problematic for many healthcare providers.

According to a recent survey by VitalWare, as many as 74 percent of participants indicated that delays to the transition deadline could substantially affect operational effectiveness. An additional 64 percent said they would continue working toward the original deadline in the absence of further guidance from the HHS.