ICD-10 Radiology Roundup: Developments, Challenges & Tips


ICD-10 RadiologyIn the years leading up to last year’s ICD-10 transition, there was plenty of planning, speculation, and hand-wringing throughout the industry. Making the switch seemed like a monumental challenge.

When ICD-10 went live in October 2015, though, it looked like a smooth transition. Barring a few hiccups, health care systems began to adapt.

But there are still challenges to overcome, issues that run deeper than just remembering to add the last two digits. Some issues with ICD-10 radiology codes in particular will take time and effort to resolve.

Despite the ongoing challenges there’s no denying ICD-10 is a more robust system for providing value-based care. While adapting to the change might take longer than anticipated, health care systems are well on their way.

The following four articles identify recent developments in ICD-10 adaptation, challenges that still remain, and tips to help regain lost productivity.

1. Assessing Your ICD-10 Transition
Now that your organization has been using ICD-10 for a few months, it’s time for a checkup. It’s a good opportunity to identify small issues with productivity, efficiency and accuracy that could become major headaches if left unchecked.

In this article for the ICD-10 Monitor, Deborah Grider identifies 15 key performance indicators you can use to check the health of your ICD-10 transition. Grider’s advice can help identify areas where extra training is needed, which processes could be more efficient, and where operational change might be necessary.

2. ICD-10 Coding Problem Could Mean a Yearlong Delay
One challenging aspect of the ICD-10 transition is delayed payments due to missing or incomplete codes. Some of these issues can be avoided by carefully double-checking codes with an eye toward reimbursement. But reporter Joseph Conn found that, for some radiology procedures for Medicare reimbursement, the correct codes have yet to be provided.

Conn provides the history and context of this issue in his article for Modern Healthcare, including statements from government officials on when the problem might be resolved.

3. How Much Is ICD-10 Productivity Hurting?
When Canadian health care systems switched to ICD-10-CA, they suffered a 40% loss in coding productivity. While American systems don’t seem to have been hit quite as hard, there are definitely some losses in productivity, with radiology one of the harder-hit specialties.

Reporting for ICD-10 Watch, Carl Natale examines what we know and don’t know about ICD-10 productivity loss, and provides resources to help health care organizations get back up to speed.

4. Congratulations, We Made It to ICD-10! What’s Next?
Currently, CMS is in an “amnesty period” for accepting more general code families rather than specific codes. That grace period runs out in October of this year, though, so it’s  time for health care systems to focus on precision in ICD-10 coding.

This article from Susan Dooley offers three tips for completing your ICD-10 transition, with helpful templates and downloadable resources.

As ICD-10 becomes the new normal, health care systems will shift from addressing obstacles to finding new efficiencies within their operations. There are undoubtedly challenges left to face. But given time and effort, soon we won’t remember when we couldn’t tell S01.112 from S01.119.

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