The deadline for implementation of ICD-10 codes is less than a year away. Healthcare practices are gearing themselves up for the change. However, while small and medium practices are still struggling to move to the new system, large healthcare practices and hospitals fully equipped with state-of-the-art technologies are already using the new system. They are not only able to implement it easily, but also have the resources to make it work flawlessly in their practices.
So what can small and medium practices learn from large-scale tech savvy practices when it comes to using the new codes? Let’s try and find out.
The implementation of ICD-10 is going to affect productivity of healthcare practices during and after the shift. This should not be a reason for small and medium practices to remain wary of the new system and not adopt it. The Cleveland Clinic Health System is using Computer Assisted Coding (CAC) tools to help its physicians get ready for the change to ICD-10. It is also helping them to improve clinical documentation, productivity, satisfaction and query rates.
Hire enough help
Since it is expected productivity is going to suffer during the implementation of ICD-10, small and medium practices need to hire more staff in order to maintain an uninterrupted workflow. This way, staff will be trained and ready for ICD-10, which will prove beneficial for a practice when the deadline expires.
Practice makes better medical claims
Implementing ICD-10 training tools right now will certainly prepare support staff for the change when it happens next year. In addition, they will learn the new codes and be able to submit error-free medical claims for processing, thereby decreasing the rejection rate and improving cash flows. Another option for extensive staff training is to have them use both codes simultaneously when filling out medical charts. When they use ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes together, they are likely to remember them better when making references.
Eliminate ICD-9 from your practice
Eliminate ICD-9 completely from your practice. This is the only way your staff is going to get accustomed to using the new set of codes. You have to upgrade your current electronic health records (EHR) and practice management software to work with the new codes. Medical coders can help you change your ICD-9 codes to ICD-10 and perhaps this will be the only way that the new system is accepted by your staff.
You also need to understand that there will be glitches in the new system. So, in order to help differentiate rejection reasons of medical claims due to ICD-9 or ICD-10, you should start using the system beforehand in order to have a better idea of where you should lay the blame.
No doubt small and medium practices face budget issues when it comes to adopting new technology, but they must remember running away from the new system will not do them any good. The implementation process needs to be started as soon as possible because it’s a long and difficult road ahead.