5 Tips for ICD-10 Transition

by Applied Medical Systems

ICD-10 has been delayed again. The Department of Health and Human Services will not be allowed to adopt the ICD-10 codes until October 1, 2015. The medical industry and physicians around the nation have been having trouble preparing for this new set of medical standards for a while now. As a physician, you might be asking yourself, "How do I prepare for the ICD-10 changes?". Applied Medical Systems can take this pressure off of your hands and help handle your medical coding needs. We have some tips to help you prepare your practice for the ICD-10 implementation. First, let us take a look at why ICD-10 has been so daunting for medical practices across the country.

What is different about the ICD-10?

The NY Times did a piece last year naming some of the outrageous codes that would be added to this ICD-10 list of 68,000 diagnosis codes and 87,000 procedure codes. There are codes dealing with injuries sustained from Orca whales or while in a spaceship. Drowning after jumping from burning water skis is another code among the many on the ICD-10 list. The increased number of codes is a vast difference from ICD-9 codes, which were a mere 14,000 codes for diagnosis and 4,000 for procedures. While ICD-9 had codes of up to 5 characters, ICD-10 has codes of up to 7 digits or letters. The codes themselves are also significantly more granular. There are codes for whether the visit was a first visit or a reccurring visit for the same problem. Codes are even as specific as which vein or artery in a specific part of the body had the procedure done. There are over 12 different codes for the big toe alone, including one for a non-venomous insect bite. For physicians this means more detailed patient descriptions and more time spent dealing with medical coding. Here are some things to think about and keep in mind while preparing for the ICD-10 transition:

ICD-10 Transition Tips

  1. Software Vendors- Making sure that your medical billing and coding software vendors are prepared for the transition. Contacting your vendors and making sure they are actively preparing and will be 100% compliant by the time the transition rolls around is imperative.
  2. Systems- Identify all the systems in your practice that will be affected by the ICD-10 transition. Make sure all software and patient records are ready to be switched over from ICD-9 to ICD-10.
  3. Training- Identify all practice staff who will be involved with integrating and using ICD-10. Create a training plan to assimilate ICD-10 into your practice staff's everyday routine.
  4. Cost- This is the last thing any practice or physician wants to think about. How much is it going to cost you and your staff to make this transition happen. Formulating a budget for the transition is important.
  5. People- This might be the most important task when preparing for the transition. It is going to be a stressful time for your practice. The way to reduce the stress and chaos is to get all personnel working efficiently to accomplish the goal of transition.
These ICD-10 transition tips are a great place to start. However, the stress on your practice during this time can feel overwhelming.

How can AMS help with ICD-10 transition?

Applied Medical Systems is here to help. We are a full-service medical billing and coding company that is prepared to take on your practices ICD-10 transition tasks. We integrate with many well-known medical coding software vendors and can help make your transition smooth. We want to help take practice management responsibilities off of your practice's shoulders, so you can get back to providing quality medical care. For more information on all of AMS practice management services, contact us at our Durham, NC office.