ICD-10: The Disaster Hoax

With the ICD-10 implementation deadline looming around, most people conceive the idea as a serious threat or potential disaster for the healthcare industry. The perspective predominantly prevalent is that of the concept promoting ICD-10 as a very serious challenge to the physicians, practices and hospitals. No doubt it is a challenge from a psychological stand point; but in fact it is just another regular update to your everyday coding tasks. Logically, it is evident that every major update in our workflows and technology comes as a means of convenience and comprehensiveness in our systems and processes and making our lives easier.

Anticipation of newer versions of operating systems and updates to the tools, gadgets and technology are mostly linked with excitement and welcomed with enthusiasm. Why so in case of a coding upgrade that all IT vendors are presenting it as a threatening upgrade with expectations of losing revenues and workflow effectiveness. Most of the giants in the EHR, practice management and revenue cycle management space are promoting ICD-10 as a scary monster inflicting goose bumps to every soul that comes across this phenomenon.

ICD-10 is a coding system that has already been established by the regulators of International Classification of Diseases providing more comprehensive codes for every diagnosis that is done by the doctors. In short – a single code will cover many aspects of a specific disease or injury. Insurance payers will be more convinced through the new system of coding done at every practice. It will be an easier decision for accepting claims with a thorough explanation and to-the-point codes governing every procedure. Most physicians are not ready for the change primarily due to psychological reasons and unwillingness to accept the changes. In reality, it is a very simple change for every 100 most-used ICD-9 codes at your practice; you will have an option of using maybe an additional couple of hundred ICD-10 codes at your practice. A cardiologist who uses 40 frequent codes in super bills will end up familiarizing himself with 5-10 codes against each ICD-9 code, which should be a matter of only a week’s training to cover it all. There is no rocket science involved, just grab your copy of the specialty-specific ICD-10 codes guide which is easily available online, and practice creating new super bills with ICD-10 codes. It is eventually going to be easier to choose a code for any specific diagnosis that is being concluded. Mostly it is the physicians who will be making the call to use these codes.

For the first couple of months you might be fumbling around for your ICD-9 to 10 thesaurus and would get used to it very soon and might even throw away the guide you had paid for the all-so-hyped-up ICD-10 transition. The sooner you give it a try the earlier it will be over for you and your revenues would come in at an even greater pace.

Eventually it is a matter of just preparing yourself for a little change in what codes you were using, and there is no reason why your transition can’t be done smoothly. We at MTBC are ready to help you out with our easy-to-use tools for ICD-10 transition at your practice. Contact icd10@mtbc.com or call us at 866.266.6822 right now to grab your ticket to the ICD-10 flight.

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