CIOs: Don't understate the importance of ICD-10 to your staff

Want your hospital staff to truly understand the importance of ICD-10 and other important IT implementations? Be incessant with your reminders, Stephen M. Stewart, CIO of Iowa-based Henry County Health Center, writes in Hospitals & Health Networks, this week. According to Stewart, that wisdom, imparted by a former colleague, helped him and his staff at a time when he felt particularly overwhelmed with simultaneous challenges like Meaningful Use.

"I had the great pleasure of working with a CNO who, before retiring recently, shared some valuable information and insight with me," Stewart writes. "She always said, 'If you want us nurses to get it, you have to ride the halls like Paul Revere and keep reminding us that the British are coming....We are so involved with our patients that we have a hard time seeing what is coming at us, and we need people like you to tell us, over and over."

Stewart says that prior to attending the CHIME Fall Forum in 2010, he was complacent regarding ICD-10 because of everything else on his plate. "[I] figured I had a lot of time, so why worry?" Ultimately, though, Stewart came to realize that the implementation was "much bigger than I had ever dreamt," especially considering his lack of preparation.

Upon returning, Stewart found an ally in his health information management director who helped him disseminate the message among the ranks. By continuously pushing the message that ICD-10 was just as vital as Meaningful Use, he was able to convince everyone to take on the task, despite some initial pushback.

"While many tried to deny it, by repeating the message time and again, it eventually sank in," Stewart says.

To learn more:
- read this Hospitals & Health Networks piece