Experience is one of the best teachers. Your practice probably learned a lot from the recent 5010 transition, and you should apply what you learned to help prepare for the upcoming ICD-10 conversion.
For example, you probably learned the capabilities and limitations of each of your vendors especially around timelines and promises kept. This experience provides guidance for the ICD-10 transition and helps you determine which questions to ask each vendor, including:
- When they will begin testing
- When testing results will be released
- When upgrades should occur
You should ask for dates for all of these things and make sure to follow up before deadlines so everyone stays on track. Mark the date halfway between now and when the vendor predicts each stage will be complete on your calendar and reach out to see if they are on track. Pay attention to the dates they set—initial test dates slated for any time in 2014 might be a red flag. Use your best judgment and past experience with the vendor to determine if the deadlines are within your comfort level based on working with this vendor in the past.
You shouldn’t underestimate your past history and confidence level in a vendor. A vendor with a track record of producing quality software or services and delivering it on time likely justifies a high level of confidence, even if testing and rollout is slated for closer to 2014.
Aside from assessing 5010 transition success, you should also evaluate some other qualities, including:
- Favorable general product reviews or write-ups in trusted industry publications. (Keep in mind that experiences—positive or negative—may be exaggerated on popular blogs and other informal outlets.)
- Formal product announcements that indicate either delays or “on target” release dates.
Most importantly, you should begin communicating with vendors about the ICD-10 transition if you haven’t already. Start with this series of questions about their preparation for the transition to gauge their preparations and the amount of work that will be required on the part of your organization. Having transparency and establishing expectations early will help ensure a smooth transition.