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Survey: ICD-10 Coding Has Reduced Productivity

November 10, 2015
by Heather Landi
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Large hospitals have reported a 30 to 45 percent productivity reduction on the inpatient side and a 20 to 40 percent productivity reduction on the outpatient side since implementation the ICD-10 codes, according to data from Himagine Solutions, a healthcare outsourcing solutions provider.

In a previous survey last month, the HIM Benchmark Report, the company surveyed 140 health information management professionals. The company conducted a follow-up survey of a small sample of healthcare providers and compared that information to ICD-9 AHIMA productivity standards.

The survey found that large academic facilities are seeing an average of 40 percent reductions in inpatient productivity while the reduction in outpatient productivity ranges from 10 to 35 percent.

With regard to community hospitals under 250 beds, the inpatient reductions are much lower ranging in productivity decline of 22 to 33 percent and on the outpatient side, the productivity decline was much higher at 35 to 40 percent.

And, while loss in productivity can ultimately mean a disruption to the revenue cycle, one third of respondents indicated they were not planning on adding incremental resources to address this decline in productivity, according to the himagine solutions survey.

“Although it is difficult to say how the transition to ICD-10 is truly going without industry-wide metrics, initial results indicate that the industry is still bracing for a significant impact. Most initial delays have been manageable those far. And hospitals are now waiting for denial data and reimbursement data to see the real impact to the bottom line,” the company stated.

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After reading this article on the impact of ICD-10 on hospital "productivity", I am left with the following questions and thoughts:
1. Why would any organization do research and/or collect data on a complex new process that started only a month ago? Who paid for it and for what purpose - seems like a statement of the obvious?
2. Why does this article reference hospital "productivity" when they really mean a decrease in the amount of billing being generated?
3. Why is nothing said about the cause of this decrease in hospital productivity/billing?
Hospital coders may be well versed in the application of the ICD-10 - but they cannot apply it to hospital documentation if the documentation by the medical staff is not present in the patients' charts. Using the term "productivity" appears to mean the medical staff are not providing adequately detailed data for the coders to use - thus a delay is caused by the need for coders to request additional documentation added to patient charts by the medical staff.
4. Another question - did these large hospitals and/or smaller hospitals spend any time/effort over the last 2+ years to review the anticipated need for more specific documentation with their medical staff??? If not - are they doing needed training now?


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