4 Things We Learned Since the Roll Out of ICD-10

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The October 1, 2015, deadline for the roll out of ICD-10 was viewed with anxiety and uncertainty by many. But now that the deadline has come and gone and the medical coding world has not imploded, it’s clear that providers of all types were better equipped to evolve than they gave themselves credit for. That being said, the switch to ICD-10 has not been flawless. Here are a few insights we’ve gleaned in the five months since switching to ICD-10

  • Providers Develop Processes to Mitigate Confusion

The ICD-10 transition went better than many expected, but considering the scope of the transition, a certain degree of confusion was unavoidable. In order to mitigate present and future uncertainty, most providers are now developing clear processes to get coding professionals the answers they need quickly and completely. These processes make use of both internal and external sources, and pool collective ICD-10 expertise to address questions ranging from the common to the esoteric.

  • Uncertainty Remains for Certain Providers

As many as 80 percent of providers felt that the ICD-10 transition went smoothly, according to one recent survey. But some have warned that it is too soon to make any final judgments. We are still in the first fiscal quarter of 2016 and have a lot of ICD-10 relevant data to wade through. There is the risk that certain providers will face a wave of appeals, experience significant cash flow problems, and put risk adjustment models in jeopardy due to coding inconsistencies.

  • Technology Becomes Even More Important

The field of medical coding has historically been both excited to embrace and eager to resist technology. Now that ICD-10 is in use, large providers are increasingly exploring the use of computer assisted coding (CAC) tools. These technologies are aimed less at coders themselves and more at physicians and other administrators. In pilot programs, they have been shown to improve productivity, satisfaction, and query rates.

  • Demand for Coders Is on the Rise

In spite of everything that has been done to keep coders active and effective in the wake of ICD-10, productivity has declined in many settings. This is a problem that requires an immediate solution, leading many organizations to increase the size of their coding teams. This extra staff may not be necessary over the long term, but during the bumpy post-transition period they provide a welcome supplement.

How is your organization doing with ICD-10? Has your coding team been able to adapt and excel, or are you experiencing more setbacks than anticipated? In either case, MedPartners has resources to help you thrive in the landscape of ICD-10. Contact us to discover what we can offer.

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