ICD-10 Delay: What to do Now?

The CMS had stated that ICD-10 implementation is not going to be delayed this time. It has already pushed to 2014 from last year. But, I guess you will never know anything for sure in future. Now that ICD-10 is postponed till 2015, we still should not lose the momentum that we achieved so far while trying to implement ICD-10.

We should not put-off the ICD-10 plans for 12 months. Instead, we should utilized this extra time prepare, i.e. schedule upgrades, fix problems and learn new systems.

First of all, this gives the practices more time to focus on implementation of Meaningful Use – Step 2. While implementing step 2, take the following steps to improve practice efficiency now that will pave the way for successful ICD-10 coding:

  1. Improve Clinical Documentation. ICD-10 basically codes the documentation better. If your documentation lacks specific details, you will not have a good ICD-10 code. ┬áTo have a successful practice with ICD-10 coding, each clinician needs to focus on his her documentation. More specific and clear the documentation is, the easier it will be to codes for a diagnosis in ICD-10. Medical practices should start practicing developing an ICD-10 codes for their patient encounter so that they can understand what’s lacking in their clinical documentation (if any).
  2. Learn the System. You don’t have to learn the 75,000 or 80,000 codes, but learn the structure and the taxonomy of the codes. Also, learn the process of acquiring the specific codes based on your encounter. It is going to be difficult to fit a large number of codes on a super-bill, you may need a software application to help you come to a code. Use this ICD-10 delay time to learn this process well.

If you were not ready for ICD-10 in 2014, then it is all the more important to use this delay time to get on board. Don’t push it off now completely, otherwise you will be faced with same unpreparedness in October 2015.