Healthcare Execs Try to Be Optimistic About ICD-10

Despite numerous delays and the difficulty of preparing for ICD-10, there are reasons to be optimistic for the transition, according to the results of a new survey.

Despite numerous delays and the difficulty of preparing for ICD-10, there are reasons to be optimistic for the transition, according to the results of a new survey.

The eHealth Initiative survey by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) gathered responses from 454 healthcare representatives to assess the anticipated impact of ICD-10 implementation, specifically focusing on: readiness for testing; anticipated financial, clinical, and operational impacts; and strategic implications of an expanded code set.

A majority of respondents could begin end-to-end testing prior to the fourth quarter of 2015, when compliance is set to begin, but 17% don’t know when testing will begin and 10% have no current plans for end-to-end testing.

“These results demonstrate that the healthcare community has stayed on track with preparation despite delays and that as healthcare executives continue to learn more about the specificity in ICD-10, they see clear value in it,” Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA, chief executive officer of AHIMA, said in a statement.

Of the organizations with no plans to conduct end-to-end testing, a lack of knowledge is the most common reason why. And nearly half of these organizations are clinics/physician practices. Plus, a higher percentage of practices indicate that completing common clinical and administrative practices will be more difficult under ICD-10 compared with acute care hospitals.

Despite current challenges facing respondents, they expressed support for the long-term benefits of ICD-10—such as making population health management easier and improving patient safety and accuracy of claims.

“…there is widespread recognition that although ICD-10 may burden providers and organizations now, it has tangible benefits that may be realized in the long term,” according to the report. “Evolving healthcare payment and delivery models, like accountable care organizations, necessitate improved capacity for measuring performance, cost, and outcomes.”

The biggest concern is claims processing (58%), followed by clinical workflow and productivity (56%), lack of staff (49%), change management (48%), and vendor/partner readiness (47%).

However, organizations are leveraging the delayed compliance date to better prepare themselves.

“Given the overall complexity of ICD-10 implementation, which requires internal workflow and process changes, extensive testing to ensure compatibility, and coordination among external partners, it is not surprising that respondents cited a number of challenges to implementation,” according to the report.