3 steps imaging providers can take to prepare for ICD-10

With all of the delays, it seems like we've been waiting forever for ICD-10. But it now seems clear: Oct. 1, 2015, will be the day it takes effect.

And it's probably not a bad idea for radiologists to again reflect on the impact the coding shift will have on radiology. To that end, a recent article in Diagnostic Imaging outlines a handful of steps medical imaging practices and departments can take to prepare. Here are three:

  1. Technologists must realize that more detail will be necessary when conducting tests, since "missing information will need to be added at the time of the imaging exam"
  2. Radiologists will need to become familiar with new data pieces required by ICD-10, particularly for dictation purposes
  3. Billing staff will need to review new reimbursement policies and look closely at returned payments

Imaging providers, the article continues, should address ICD-10 from a technology standpoint, particularly by working with IT vendors. For example, "imaging providers can--and should--expect their technology vendors to be able to collect and transfer ICD-10 information across all applications, from inbound ordering and patient portals through patient encounter, billing and reporting," it says.

At the American Healthcare Radiology Administrators fall conference last October in Baltimore, Melody Mulaik, president and co-founder of Powder Springs, Ga.-based Coding Strategies, said that one area where radiologists will need to be especially alert once the ICD-10 shift goes into effect will be clinical data reporting.

"Think about the quality of the clinical data you receive [from referring physicians]," Mulaik said. "How many of you always have referring physicians give you all the details you need? That's going to get worse in ICD-10."

To learn more:
- see the article in Diagnostic Imaging