As an industry, the transition to HIPAA 5010 has been a learning opportunity – especially showing the benefits of planning and questioning a vendor’s capabilities early on. These lessons can be taken and applied to the next big transition – ICD-10, which will be the required coding set starting on October 1, 2013. Many people in the industry believe that there is plenty of time before the transition, and that they can start the transition process at a later time. However, now is the time for practices to start preparing for the coding change. So when I was recently given the opportunity to speak with a writer from For the Record about how the transition to ICD-10 would impact the industry and how practices should prepare, I was happy to share my thoughts.
At the start of this conversation, we focused on how this transition would impact everyone in the healthcare industry. It was the coders, though, that quickly became the focal point of our discussion. Specifically, we talked about the types of questions coders should be asking when preparing an ICD-10 transition plan. These questions include:
- Can the practice’s software solutions or clearinghouse accommodate ICD-10?
- When can the practice begin to send test files that include ICD-10 values?
- Do physicians understand that ICD-10 is not simply a technology update? For example, do they know how codes and documentation requirements will change?
Even if some of your vendors or internal staff cannot answer all of these questions right now, asking them to think about it is still beneficial because they will start to think about the answers. And the sooner you get answers to those questions, the sooner you can start to develop a plan for transitioning to ICD-10. If you would like to learn more about the questions you should be taking and strategies you should be considering to prepare coders for the transition, read this article titled “Tick, Tick, Tick” where I, along with other industry leaders, discuss tips for a successful transition.