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Survey: Healthcare Organizations See Long-Term Value in ICD-10

November 4, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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As they become more familiar with ICD-10, healthcare executives recognize the long-term benefits of the updated code set and plan to use it for quality improvement and performance measurement, according to a new survey by the Chicago-based American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and eHealth Initiative (eHI).

Respondents said they believe ICD-10 will make managing population health and conducting clinical, health services, or translational research easier, and that ICD-10 will ultimately improve the accuracy of claims, quality of care, and patient safety. A majority of the 450 respondents also indicated they are far enough along in the implementation process to conduct end-to-end testing prior to the compliance deadline of Oct. 1, 2015, although smaller organizations appear less equipped to test. Respondents also indicated they are not aware of when their business partners will be prepared to conduct testing.

“These results demonstrate that the healthcare community has stayed on track with preparation despite delays and that as healthcare executives continue to learn more about the specificity in ICD-10, they see clear value in it,” AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, said in a news release statement. “AHIMA will continue to provide training and resources to help healthcare organizations, including small physician groups, prepare for implementation so all healthcare organizations and patients will experience the benefits of a modern and robust coding system.”

In March, the U.S. Congress inserted a year-long delay in the mandate for the transition from the ICD-9 coding system to the ICD-10 coding system from Oct. 1, 2014, to Oct. 1, 2015. Industry reaction to the delay has been mostly negative, and there has been concern regarding the usefulness of the new coding set as well as how prepared organizations might be.  A recent Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) survey found that providers have shown little progress in working towards ICD-10, though health plans and vendors are more ready for the switch.

As organizations work toward meeting the compliance deadline, AHIMA and eHI recommend to: test early and frequently; collaborate; and mitigate risk prior to implementation. Additional results from the survey include:

  • 70 percent of organizations are planning to conduct additional training and practice prior to the compliance date to mitigate challenges to staffing as they familiarize themselves with the new code set
  • 62 percent say they are using the delay to improve clinical document integrity
  • 59 percent will train more staff on ICD-10
  • One-third of respondents are planning to fill gaps by contracting with outsourced coding companies
  • 32 percent plan to purchase computer-assisted coding technology or similar tools

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