The Path to Implementation
If you are having difficulty getting started, or simply want to keep on track, here is a simple plan to help you on your way to being ready for ICD-10:
First, be sure there is adequate awareness of ICD-10 within your organization, especially among management, whose support you will need throughout the initiative. Once that is accomplished, form your steering committee to begin the planning process in detail.
You will then need to conduct an impact analysis across the business, in all departments, as well as a gap analysis to show the difference between current conditions and your ultimate goal.
With that foundation in place, you can look more closely at the risks each department faces, and form an action plan to address them. Next comes documentation readiness reviews, which will form the basis of your discussions with practitioners.
As you work with them on documentation issues, you can form a training plan for all staff members, including assessments to determine training needs.
Next comes the upgrading of your systems, which may include hardware and software, as well as the processes in place for using them. With the updating complete, you will need to perform testing to ensure functionality and compliance. As part of the testing, practice dual coding in the months leading to ICD-10 implementation, to ensure a smooth transition when you no longer use the old codes.
Finally, you will be ready to go live. There will inevitably be challenges post-implementation to deal with, but adequate preparation will minimize these issues. And the sooner you begin, the better position you will be in when the time comes. October 14 may or may not be the final ICD-10 implementation date, but it is far better to be prepared than to find ourselves standing at the front of the class without having our report ready.
Deborah Grider is a senior manager at Blue and Company and is an industry expert on ICD-10. She is the author of three ICD-10 publications for the American Medical Association. She holds several coding and auditing credentials and testified in 2009 at the December National Committee on Health Vital Statistics on the challenges providers face with ICD-10 Implementation.