As practices prepare to transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 coding by October 2015, computer-assisted coding (CAC) tools will become increasingly important, so much so that, according to a new HIMSS Analytics report, they have the highest growth potential out of 25 support service applications.
For the report, the fall 2014 edition of the Essentials of the U.S. Hospital IT Market, researchers combed through the HIMSS Analytics database to measure the use of support service tools against anticipated sales. Lorren Pettit, vice president of market research for HIMSS Analytics, in a statement called the current market “ripe” for CAC vendors. At present, less than 20 percent of practices have CAC applications installed, according to the report.
CAC applies natural language processing to electronic notes and reports, and cannot extract meaning from scanned documents.
Not surprisingly, a survey published by Orem, Utah-based KLAS Research roughly 18 months prior to the original ICD-10 transition deadline of Oct. 1, 2014, also determined adoption of CAC tools to be on the rise.
Research published in July 2013 in the Journal of the American Health Information Management Association determined that even though computer-assisted coding adds speed to coding efforts without the loss of accuracy, it still requires oversight by a certified coder to be fully effective.
That study looked at the ICD-9 procedure and diagnostic codes on 25 Cleveland Clinic cases, all of which were complex with an average length of stay of 16 days. Six coders assigned codes with the assistance of (CAC) technology and six without. Those with the technological help reduced time per record by 22 percent.
For this latest report, researchers determined five other applications to be on a “healthy” growth path, including:
1. Dictation with speech recognition
2. Ambulatory electronic health records
3. Disaster recovery systems
4. Single sign-on tools
5. Electronic forms management
In a survey released last month, the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange determined that provider progress in transitioning to ICD-10 has been hampered by the most recent delay.