ICD-10 Preparedness: Delays, Progress and Reality Checks…and the survey says?

ICD-10 Preparedness: Delays, Progress and Reality Checks…and the survey says?

Posted on: April 14th, 2015 by claimsworks

Industry experts believe there will not be another ICD-10 delay this year, but most in the HIT community are taking a wait and see approach while encouraging practices to continue preparing for a transition this year.

According to a survey by the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) published on April 6, 2015, last year’s delay has “negatively affected stakeholders’ progress” preparing for the new code sets.  Why the slowdown in preparations?  According to the survey, more than 50% of providers cited “uncertainty over future delays” as the most significant barrier to their implementation progress.

Providers may be negatively impacted by multiple factors that seem beyond their control, as they are dependent on EHR, Clearinghouse, and Practice Management software providers.  Interesting, and somewhat alarming, is that 25% of vendors said their updated products would not be available until the second or third quarter of 2015.  Why won’t some vendors be ready?  They cited customer readiness and competing priorities as barriers to preparing for ICD-10.

One can only wonder what priorities are trumping ICD-10 readiness for vendors?  Providers should already know when their software vendors will make ICD-10 ready versions available, and at what cost.  (At ClaimsWorks, our systems have been ICD-10 ready since December 2013, and are made available to providers with no upgrade fees or costs)

Among health care providers, the survey found:

  • About two-thirds said they slowed or stopped entirely their transition efforts as a result of the delay
  • About 33% said they had completed impact assessments of the ICD-10 transition, down from more than 50% of providers who said they had done so in August 2014
  • About 25% said they had started external testing, down from 33% in August 2014
  • About 25% said they had tested with Medicare
  • 20% said they did not plan to conduct testing with Medicare

While most industry professionals are moving forward with preparations for a transition this fall, the survey indicates there is good reason to be concerned about the upcoming transition.  The organization (WEDI) submitted its concerns in a letter to secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. “Unless all industry segments take the initiative to make a dedicated effort and move forward with their implementation work, there will be significant disruption on Oct. 1, 2015,” said Devin Jopp, EdD, president and CEO of WEDI.

One of the many benefits of our web-based MediTouch EHR is that updates such as ICD-10 can be implemented instantly and without any cost to the practice. Plus, Meditouch  provides an in-system tool that suggests appropriate ICD-10 codes based on the ICD-9 codes you have selected, making the transition that much easier.