Although a proposed rule by the Department of Health and Human Services may make it possible to delay implementation of ICD-10 guidelines until October of 2014, providers and healthcare employees must still be ready to face the obstacles that will doubtlessly follow such a profound change. Even the best prepared practices may still experience chaos and confusion during ICD-10 preparation and implementation, so it is important not to procrastinate too long before taking action. Please follow the link in the prior sentence to view a helpful checklist from AHIMA.
The American association of professional coders recommend undergoing implementation and code set training, and furthermore advises that coders review anatomy and pathophysiology before the ICD-10 transition. There will be over 8 times more codes contained in ICD-10, and this is largely due to increased specificity of locations, symptoms, and disease processes.
Physicians will need to make sure to document more thoroughly, so their coders will not have to work based on assumptions. A consulting firm recently found that only 37 percent of current physician documentation would satisfy ICD 10 standards.
The advent of ICD 10 also has the potential to throw a wrench into every other aspect of business as usual. HIPPA agreements must all be signed again, contracts with payers must be re-evaluated, and payer reimbursement policies may ultimately be overhauled. The AAPC has a great diagram illustrating how the change will impact each department in your practice. You may also find links for training sessions and educational resources on their site. SOAPware PM will be a valuable tool in helping you jump this hurdle, but if you are unready, ICD-10 preparation could be problem which will ultimately transcend solution by simple software implementation and a new set of codes.