Last spring, the deadline for the ICD-10 implementation was pushed back to October of 2015. And while this latest delay has frustrated some in the HIM field that wish the deadline would just come and go so that they can begin grappling with the consequences of the massive new system, others have embraced the extra year as an opportunity.

A survey conducted by eHealth Initiative and the AHIMA queried 349 healthcare organizations to find out how they planned to spend the extra time before ICD-10 goes live. The results are as follows:

  • 61% plan to train more staff
  • 60% are improving documentation
  • 47% continue dual coding
  • 40% are undertaking more robust testing

The results of this survey underscore two of the most urgent factors relevant to the ICD-10 transition – most organizations are not ready, and most of them realize this fact and are using the extra year to get ready.

It is also telling that the two most common responses are training staff and improving documentation. Ultimately, this two-fold approach is essential if the ICD-10 issues that many experts forecast are going to be mitigated. The better equipped providers are to use the granularity of the new system to describe the clinical picture, the better-equipped coders are to accurately get the information into the system. Similarly, it is up to coders to improve documentation in ways that help speed up the pace of adoption and avoid the largest number of mistakes.

Given the work that many organizations already put into preparing for the now irrelevant 2014 ICD-10 deadline, it is highly likely that this extra year of preparation will have a significant impact. When the two strategies mentioned above are combined with more robust testing, there is the very real potential that the kind of systemic chaos that many pessimists worried about will be a non-issue once next October arrives. There is still a lot of work to do, obviously, but there is also the energy in place to get it done.

Here at Medpartners, we are closely following the developments with ICD-10 and how they affect the full spectrum of HIM professionals. Rely on our experienced recruiters for continued reports, especially in the context of ICD-10 and employment. Contact one of our recruiters directly if you’re looking for new opportunities involving the confluence and healthcare and information.

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