ICD-10: The Countdown is On


ICD-10 Readiness for Radiology Departments With six months to go until ICD-10 implementation, ICD-10 is a focus for many healthcare organizations. Most hospitals are making investments in ICD-10 migration tools this year, according to a survey of hospital executives. CMS timelines indicate that health systems should be a full year into testing for readiness, with testing recommended to have begun in April of last year. Final steps should be underway now to ensure that employees are fully trained and ready for the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10, including in radiology.

“Like other organizations, radiology departments have a similar challenge – educating any stakeholders that currently utilize or review ICD-9 codes,” says Brad Justus, strategic account executive at himagine solutions. “This close to implementation, radiology departments should have identified their gaps in ICD-10 implementation and created a project plan to address those gaps.”

Identify and Train Stakeholders

Justus says that he’s noticed a few recurring issues that radiology organizations are facing leading up to the October 1, 2015 deadline.

One typical obstacle he sees is identifying all of the stakeholders who need to be trained, and then scheduling time to educate them on the new system. Justus recommends that leaders provide adequate time for employees to practice coding under ICD-10 so any training gaps can be identified and met.

“Follow up with associated clinicians as soon as possible when you find gaps in documentation,” says Justus. “Provide details on missing elements as soon as gaps are identified so you avoid long-term effects, such as loss of productivity and other consequences.”

Ensure Clinician and Coder Readiness

According to the American Hospital Association, 60 percent of hospitals in a recent survey are undertaking coder training, although 32 percent have not yet started, despite being six months out from the ICD-10 implementation deadline.

Justus says that radiology leaders should ask themselves, what if ICD-10 went into effect today? Are referring physicians providing documentation regarding proof of medical necessity and other details required under ICD-10?

“A strong plan can help offset changes in productivity during the transition,” says Justus. “Work with clinicians and other parties so they’re aware of the needs that start October 1. Ensure you’ve invested in training and education so your staff will be fully prepared for their roles. Certain roles are often overlooked and not provided with the appropriate education, causing risk during the transition.”

Utilize Resources if Needed

There are a number of resources available to help organizations as they transition to ICD-10.

As the ICD-10 implementation deadline nears, some healthcare leaders may be confident that employees are ready, while others have yet to train coders. There is help to expedite team readiness if necessary, including consultants who conduct training and testing for . Experts are available and can help in one-time training or in ongoing capacities as well. ICD-10 will be here in a matter of months. The countdown is on.

For an example of ICD-10 coding for cardiac catheterization and PCI, read a recent blog post about ICD-10 preparedness.

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