With ICD-10 delay, the first question on most minds is, “Now what?”ICD_10_Delay

The team of TrustHCS experts and consultants who have spent the past several years helping organizations train and prepare for this change share the following recommendations as part of the adjusted approach to ICD-10.  These 4 key components will help ensure the work done to this point is not wasted and that the extension on implementation benefits the last minute preparations necessary for transition.

#1 – Keep Testing and Training

Many were already months into dual coding initiatives when the delay passed congress.  The vast majority of others planned on entering a dual coding period within the next month.  The delay in implementation provides one benefit in the fact that we now have additional time to continue dual coding efforts with better testing results on how ICD-10 will impact our coding productivity.  As questions arise from these efforts, we are also allowed additional time to provide training to address areas of confusion or complication.  Keep up your dual coding efforts and the continued training of your staff.  It’s still needed!

#2 – Solidify Strategy for Physician Preparation

We all wanted to engage physicians as close to the go-live date as possible to help them maintain the information and strategies we shared with them to make ICD-10 transition smooth.  This is still an ideal approach.  Take the time we’ve been afforded with the delay to focus on additional change management strategies targeted at the physician and provider population.  Think back on your EHR implementation and the programs that worked and failed with physicians.  Weave those successful components into a messaging campaign to physicians so they know the benefit and overall goals of why ICD-10 implementation is so important to the care provided to patients.  These efforts should all coincide with dates you’ve set for physician education.

#3 – Turn Focus to Documentation

The past few years have been squarely focused on coding preparation.  HIM professionals have spent significant amounts of time and money getting ready for their part of the transition.  The focus now should remain on the documentation these professionals receive to code.  A key component that can now be fully reviewed and enhanced where needed is your Clinical Documentation Improvement program.  It’s not just the query templates that need to be updated for ICD-10 but also the policy and procedures and program key performance indicators that should be in place to create an effective CDI program.

#4 – Fight for Your Budget

With the delay announced, healthcare organizations are already on the path to re-allocation of budget dollars to other initiatives in their organizations for 2014.  In the lead up to 2015 budget discussions make sure you keep the ICD-10 conversation front and center with data to back up the budgets you believe are required to support implementation.  Important data to use for budgeting purposes includes productivity analysis from dual coding, physician education needs in 2015 and enhancements to the clinical documentation improvement program that require funding.

If you want to discuss these ideas and an approach for your organization, contact your TrustHCS representative today.