Hospitals tout success on Day 1 of ICD-10 transition

Minor hiccups fixed quickly--but next week will be more telling, leaders say
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Day 1 of ICD-10 use was a relative success, according to several hospital IT and information management leaders who spoke to FierceHealthIT.

For instance, Walter Houlihan (pictured right), director of health information management and clinical documentation at Springfield, Massachusetts-based Baystate Health, said that years of preparation enabled the provider to handle the transition surprisingly well.

"All things are humming along as we hoped," said Houlihan, who opened an ICD-10 operations center just prior to Oct. 1.

Linda Reed, vice president and CIO of Morristown, New Jersey-based Atlantic Health System, said that thus far, her coders are doing well, as are remote coders hired to help with the effort.

"Our main goal was to ensure patients were not impacted," Reed (pictured left) said. "We had an army of people at our main outpatient registration sites armed with cellphones to help patients contact physician offices, if needed. We also contacted all patients that were scheduled for any work two weeks ago to make sure they had the proper documentation."

James Bender, medical director of health information at Seattle-based Virginia Mason Medical Center, also said his organization's efforts to adapt took place without any major disruptions. "We were able to successfully clean up and map 200,000 future orders that did not have an ICD-10 code, which was a major worry," Bender said.

Still, there were a few hiccups. Bender (pictured right) added that one "small miss" was underestimating workflow concerns to get an appropriate code onto paper requisitions for pathology specimens before the provider had completed coding.

And Reed said that Atlantic experienced some "temporary performance issues" in its main registration system, although she added that those issues were resolved in a timely manner.

Houlihan said that while coders were able to use Baystate's coding application, they could not send codes to the health system's billing system Oct. 1, despite its testing in recent months. 

"IT quickly reviewed and fixed the issue, and codes were able to flow from the coding application to the billing application," Houlihan said.

He, Reed and several other hospital CIOs agreed, though, that next week would reveal more about the state of their respective efforts.

"The real test will be next week when bills start to drop," said Indranil Ganguly (pictured left), vice president and CIO at JFK Health System in Edison, New Jersey.

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