What Medical Providers Need to Know After ICD-10

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Now that the October 1st ICD-10 implementation deadline has come and gone, many medical providers are breathing a sigh of relief. However, they should be aware that a whole new set of challenges is coming down the pipeline. Implementation may have been an arduous process, but sorting out the relative success and failures of the implementation could prove to be an even bigger headache. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of things medical providers need to know now.

Watch for a Drop in Coder Productivity

No matter how well medical providers have prepared for the transition to ICD-10, there will inevitably be a drop in coder productivity. A still unfamiliar system will take longer to work through, while mistakes and inconsistencies throughout the system may require a frustrating amount of backtracking. The solution to this is to continue coder training programs, and consider bringing on supplemental coding staff to make up for backlogs.

Create a Stronger Link Between Coders and Physicians

One of the aims of ICD-10 is to be more proactive about assessing quality and reporting outcomes in an effort to improve overall quality of care. That could prove to be a challenge for coders who don’t have the medical knowledge to unpack the extra layer(s) of detail that have been integrated into the system. Again, ongoing training is the solution, and physicians should play a large part.

Look to the Past

Many medical providers performed comprehensive ICD-9 audits as part of their ICD-10 implementation preparation. In many cases those audits revealed problems with ICD-9 coding that went deeper than expected. Just because we have transitioned to ICD-10 doesn’t mean those problems can be ignored. In many cases they will affect ICD-10 coding to a similar degree, and can be used to improve coding efforts generally.

Scrutinize Coding Staff

The run up to ICD-10 has been stressful, and now that it’s in place, a whole new set of complications has arisen. Medical providers need to be aware that their coding staff has carried the majority of this stress on their shoulders and now have a big role to play in the financial health of all types of provider organizations. If the staff are overworked, undertrained, or toiling on teams that don’t have the proper makeup, it could lead to disaster in the near future. Keeping these employees engaged and supporting them needs to be a paramount concern.

How is your organization doing in the wake of the ICD-10 transition? If it could be doing better, contact MedPartners.

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