To say that there has been “a lot of buzz” in the medical industry around new ICD-10 coding regulations would be an understatement. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has set October 1, 2014 as a deadline for ICD-10 implementation, and many medical providers are scrambling to meet it.
International Classification of Diseases or ICD-10 codes are diagnostic codes. They serve the purpose of showing how a physician or provider has diagnosed a health condition on official medical documentation.
The ICD-9 system that has been used for decades is being replaced by the ICD-10 system, which includes tens of thousands more specific diagnostic codes, making it a lot more complex and, in many cases, more difficult to work with.
Some doctors and practice administrators who want to get ahead of ICD-10 implementation are planning now. A good strategy for ICD-10 implementation can help a medical business to be prepared next year as it continues to deal with existing regulations, working in healthcare reform and new models for payers, along with the hurdles that ICD-10s may cause for providers next year.
For some of the providers with the best plans in place, the key is a combination of good data and document handling systems, and available manpower.
Those taking common-sense steps to prepare are often supplementing their front desk and clerical teams with additional labor resources. Where there is already a staff member who understands the ICD-10 system, providers are giving him or her additional staffing hours allocated to ramping up procedures in using and categorizing ICD-10 codes. This may mean expanding a medical billing and coding department, and it can also mean additional training for scheduling, front desk or revolving workers who do a lot of different tasks within a medical office.
In addition, new specialized medical practice management software systems, including electronic health record and electronic medical record technologies, are being built to provide automation and templates for ICD-10s. EHRs and EMRs are one component of a comprehensive medical data handling system that can allow for quick and efficient review of not only diagnostic codes, but anything else that can cause medical mistakes, delay medical billing processes, or otherwise interrupt the day-to-day business of a provider.
Doctors who don’t yet have a plan in place can think about these types of solutions in order to streamline what their practices do in preparation for a more dynamic model for future years.
Bio: Justin Stoltzfus is an independent blogger and business consultant assisting a range of businesses in developing media solutions for new campaigns and ongoing operations. He is a graduate of James Madison University.
abeo Management Corporation (abeo) serves as a leading source of revenue cycle management and practice management with a specialization in anesthesia. The company leverages its people, processes, and software to serve independent practices, surgery centers, hospitals and healthcare systems with a scope of services that include billing, coding, transcription, practice management, and business consulting.