When the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced earlier this year that the implementation deadline for ICD-10 would be delayed to October 1, 2015, many in the healthcare industry were frustrated, to say the least. Not only was this the third time that the federal agency had chosen to delay ICD-10 — whose new start date is now rubbing precariously close to the planned start date for ICD-11 — but many providers had been banking on the coding upgrade happening this year. The sudden year-long extension meant that much of the financial and time investments being made to ensure momentum was on track for this October were now made largely in vain.
But as disappointing as the delay may be for those healthcare groups, there are still plenty of ways that clinics, hospitals and other providers can keep their momentum going into next year. Here are three suggestions from family doctor Stephen Spain, as reported by industry news source Fierce Health IT:
- Don't wait to highlight important codes: ICD-10 provides tens of thousands of new codes, and waiting a year before immersing your staff in how to best use them can be a recipe for disaster. Identity the most important codes you'll be sure to reference now, so that when your new chiropractic EHR is finally implemented, you won't be playing catch-up on just how exactly to use it. To that end, Spain suggests putting together "a 'cheat sheet' of frequently used codes" in order to save yourself time and headaches later on.
- Evaluate how chiropractic EMR may affect your workflow: "To ensure a smooth transition — or at least understand provider complaints about different changes — practice managers first must understand their providers' workflow," writes Dan Bowman of Fierce Health IT. "Many electronic health record systems boast test environments, Spain says, and practice managers shouldn't be shy about using them."
- Prep your vendor: In spite of the several delays, many vendors in the industry still aren't ready for ICD-10. Take advantage of this extra time to ensure your clinic's vendor will be ready to process reimbursement claims by the time next October rolls around.
As the source notes, these are far from the only measures you should be taking to ensure ICD-10 readiness, but they are some of the most important.
Other critical preparations that should be made ahead of next year's deadline are developing and implementing a "comprehensive training strategy" for staffers on best practices for ICD-10 use, and finding payers that will perform claims testing during this interim period. Following these recommendations will allow for a more thoroughly prepared clinic when ICD-10 is finally made standard.
When gearing up for ICD-10 implementation, make sure your practice is relying on only the best chiropractic EHR software to accommodate the new system without negatively impacting workflow.