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

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.

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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.

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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