Physician involvement is an especially crucial element at several levels for hospitals transitioning to ICD-10, according to healthcare IT consultant D’Arcy Guerin Gue, writing in ICD10monitor.com.
Not only does accurate physician documentation “drive the production of ICD-10 codes,” according to Guerin Gue, executive vice president of corporate services for Richardson, Texas-based Phoenix Health Systems, but physician participation also helps when it comes to navigating hospital politics.
“Physicians sit at a very powerful seat at the table,” Guerin Gue writes. “With their political capital, progress toward ICD-10 readiness is manageable; without it, progress can be slow and painful.
“With outright resistance from physicians, ICD-10 project stakeholders have their hands tied,” she adds.
To win over physicians, Guerin Gue offers several suggestions. Here are three:
1. Effectively communicate the importance of the switch: Rather than trying to sell physicians on the benefits of switching, make sure they understand that ICD-10 is a change management project. “ICD-10 is nothing short of one of the largest changes in healthcare since Medicare,” Guerin Gue says. To that end, she says, communication is key.
2. Make ICD-10 assistance part of a larger physician engagement strategy: Extend ICD-10 educational resources to associated physician practices, in addition to employed physicians, Guerin Gue says. Doing so, she says, likely will result in more ICD-10 compliant incoming documentation.
3. Incorporate ICD-10 into the clinical documentation improvement process sooner rather than later: “If this process is handled properly, the physicians should not care if or when ICD-10 is implemented,” Guerin Gue writes, “because the quality of documentation will be the same.”
Smaller healthcare organizations anticipate more difficulty with the transition than their larger counterparts, according to a recently published survey by the American Health Information Management Association. The survey included representatives from 454 healthcare organizations, mostly hospitals and physician practices.