Study: Urgency, organization lacking for providers in ICD-10 transition

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Providers need to put more of an emphasis on planning and organization when it comes to large implementation efforts such as ICD-10 and HIPAA 5010, researchers from Georgetown University and  the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton recently determined.

In a study published in the journal Perspectives in Health Information Management, researchers interviewed seven healthcare organizations considered to be "national industry leaders" in March and April of 2010 about ICD-10 implementation (one organization asked for their responses to be removed from the results). Several common trends emerged among the providers, including disorganization and a lack of urgency, the researchers found.

"The results show that most providers were still in the planning stages of implementation [for ICD-10] as of April 2010 and were looking to raise awareness within their organizations," study authors Veronica Jackson and Alexander Muckerman said. "Interviewed administrators cited cultivating a sense of urgency around ICD-10-CM/PCS preparation as a necessary precondition for the success of any transition effort."

Jackson, a project manager at Atlas Research, is a Presidential Management Fellowship finalist, while Muckerman is a health analyst with Booz Allen.

Specifically, four of the six respondents said physician adoption is one of the primary challenges associated with ICD-10. The researchers noted that physicians can be reluctant to go along with such a transition if they deem it clinically unnecessary.

Half of the responding providers also indicated that withstanding productivity losses due to the ICD-10 training and transition would be painful. One provider believed that coders would need between 60 and 80 hours of "face-to-face training," which could cause a 25 percent reduction in productivity early on in the process.

One provider also said it was difficult to discern between good and bad information with regard to what is expected for the transition, although since the survey, several organizations--including the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society--have created ICD-10 resources.

A report from KLAS last October determined that at that time, less than 10 percent of providers had crossed the halfway point for ICD-10 implementation.

Editor's note: FierceHealthIT is hosting a breakfast panel discussion on ICD-10 preparedness on February 22 at the HIMSS conference in Las Vegas. Executives from leading healthcare organizations will share what they're doing now to ensure a smooth--and even profitable--transition to ICD-10.  For more information and to register, visit the ICD-10 Readiness for Hospital IT Leaders: Lessons Learned from the Trenches website.

To learn more:
- read the full study

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