Guest post by Mike Patel, CEO, Meditab Software.
As most healthcare professionals know, an important step in the improvement of healthcare quality and cost will take place in October 2014, just under a year from now. This important step is the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 – with this new code set, the largest financial system change will take place since the Prospective Payment System (PPS) in 1983.
This change has to take place for several reasons including that with a maximum of 13,000 codes, ICD-9 is not specific enough for detailed diagnoses and the current codes do not reflect new services and technology in CMS payment systems. With more than 171,000 codes, ICD-10 will provide much more detailed clinical pictures and data, improving accuracy in all aspects of patient care. New data available through ICD-10 will help determine public health needs and identify trends, as well as helping to spot bioterrorism and epidemics.
The transition will not only impact healthcare organizations, but also physicians, for whom it will be particularly beneficial. Physicians will be able to determine the severity of illnesses more clearly, and, therefore, quantify the level of care more accurately. The codes will also create an electronic trail of documentation, which can help physicians receive proper payment and ensure their reputation remains in good standing.
With the importance and significance of this transition, it is crucial that ample preparations are made. However, there are many organizations that have not yet embarked on the road to preparedness and many concerns exist throughout the industry. For example, according to a survey conducted by the MGMA-ACPME of 1,200 office-based practices surveyed, approximately 70 percent of respondents were very concerned about expected loss of clinician productivity and the same percentage was very concerned about changes to clinical documentation. 71 percent surveyed responded that, in order to accommodate ICD-10, their EHR systems either were upgraded or still need to be upgraded, will need to be replaced, or they are unsure which. Only 0.6 percent had tested their EHRs for ICD-10 compliance.