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Survey: Shaky Optimism Remains for ICD-10 Readiness

September 2, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Healthcare organizations are overwhelmingly optimistic about being ready for the Oct. 1, 2015 ICD-10 transition date, yet only 43 percent feel they are currently on track with their preparation, according to the fourth ICD-10 research study from the Duluth, Ga.-based Navicure and Porter Research.

This survey was a follow up to surveys conducted in April and November 2013, in addition to one conducted in January 2015. With only a few weeks until the transition, the survey found healthcare organizations’ state of ICD-10 preparedness is improving but varies widely. The majority (85 percent) are still optimistic they will be ready when the transition happens, yet more than half of respondents (57 percent) still do not believe they are “on track” at this late stage to be prepared for the Oct. 1 transition date. On a more positive note, more are on track for the transition than the previous survey (43 percent versus 21 percent). The findings were focused on themes of timing, readiness and challenges, including:

Impact on revenue and cash flow. Fifty-six percent of respondents noted cash flow was their greatest concern, while the overwhelming majority (94 percent) of participants anticipate an increase in their denial rate. While some organizations are being proactive in other areas to improve revenue and cash flow, such as improving patient collections (34 percent), denial management (30 percent) and patient price estimation (17 percent) processes, 35 percent have not adjusted their revenue cycle in preparation for ICD-10.

Increased clinical documentation improvement. Thirty-one percent of respondents cite increased clinical documentation improvement and coding requirements as the most challenging aspect of the transition. Even with a well-trained staff, industry experts estimate staff productivity may decline by more than 50 percent, so it is important to invest in training and/or resources that can help mitigate productivity loss due to coding errors.

End-to-end testing results. Sixty percent of respondents who completed end-to-end testing reported the results were as expected and positive. However, more than 35 percent have not participated at all. With a few weeks until the transition, organizations should test all changes internally, and where payers are capable and available, participate in end-to-end testing.

Similar to Navicure’s first three surveys, the majority of participants were practice administrators or billing managers (58 percent), followed by practice executives (14 percent), and billers and coders (14 percent). Survey respondents represented a broad range of specialties and sizes, with the majority (67 percent) coming from physician practices with one to 10 providers.  

“After conducting four ICD-10 readiness surveys over the past two years, Navicure is pleased to see progress in organizations’ preparations; however, we remain concerned. Too many organizations are still not equipped to successfully weather the transition,” said Jim Denny, co-founder and CEO of Navicure. “Even at this late stage, it is still not too late for organizations to make meaningful improvements to their ‘3 P’s’ − people, products and processes − to be as prepared as possible. These surveys, along with our own client surveys, have provided our team with insight on how we can still best help healthcare organizations through the transition.”

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