Making processes better for staff and patients will affect how they implement EHR and computer assisted coding (CAC) initiatives.
I don’t mean to scare you but there is a bit more to this ICD-10 transition than buying software and learning ICD-10 codes.
The ICD-10 transition could affect every department at a healthcare system. So don’t focus only on the intricacies of medical coding or billing. Success will depend on organized project management and planning.
This isn’t all about information technology. There are clinical and business procedures that need to be converted, vendor relationships to be managed and staff members to educate. Progress in all these areas needs to be tracked. ICD-10 implementation is going to require coordination of a lot of moving parts. Project plans must oversee:
• Team delegation
• Recruitment of champions
• Education and training
• Impact assessments
• Vendor, payer and consultant communication
The ultimate cost of the ICD-10 transition is up for debate. But that debate focuses on how much money will be spent on training and systems. In fact, there are more factors that will affect the financial health of a healthcare provider.
Reimbursements can be affected by DRG shifts and shifts in healthcare payers’reimbursement policies. Under ICD-10 implementation, they won’t have consistent data to guide reimbursements. So it shouldn’t be a surprise if ICD-10 policies favor the payers.
Also, healthcare payer readiness and a decrease in medical coding productivity can increase the accounts receivable cycle. Productivity could be augmented with more staff — which will increase costs.
Speaking of productivity. The drop in Canadian medical coder productivity is almost legendary – 40 percent. It’s the bogey man of ICD-10 implementation. But there is hope that healthcare organizations can boost productivity now by:
• Using computer assisted coding (CAC)
• Implementing electronic health records (EHR)
• Hiring and training staff
• Enhancing the workplace
That last idea isn’t as sexy as CAC and EHRs but maybe a few small measures can help:
• Create a quiet, distraction-free work area
• Offer large and multiple computer monitors
• Limit data to electronic health records (EHRs) or minimize the number of systems with information
• Limit keystrokes needed to complete tasks
• Update training and education available quarterly
• Make resources available online
• Transcribe necessary documentation in a timely manner
• Make remote coding possible
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