Cost, training among biggest ICD-10 hurdles for hospital execs

Hospital executives are finally starting to grapple with the challenge of converting to the ICD-10 diagnostic code set in 2013, according to an article in Healthcare Informatics. CIOs agree that the biggest barrier is not technical, but is related to training physicians and billing staff to cope with the increased complexity of ICD-10.

There also are funding issues. For example, CentraState Healthcare System in Freehold, N.J., sought bids from five vendors to help with its ICD-10 transition. The quotes it received ranged from $100,000 to $500,000, leading CentraState to wonder how much of what the vendors proposed was really necessary. Some community hospitals have received quotes in the millions of dollars, Neal Ganguly, vice president and CIO of CentraState, told Healthcare Informatics.

In June, hospital IT consultant James Swanson told Computerworld that the ICD-10 switchover could cost large hospitals as much as $2 million to $5 million.

Here are some of the items that CIOs and health information management directors say a healthcare organization needs to address in its ICD-10 planning:

  • Identify which information systems will be affected by the transition and what hardware and software upgrades will be needed;
  • Decide whether you can handle the project internally, or whether you need to hire an outside project manager;
  • Obtain training for clinician and coding "super-users," calling on programs such as the American Health Information Management Association's Academy for ICD-10;
  • Make a realistic estimate about your future coding needs and do whatever it takes to recruit and retain the requisite number of coders.

The majority of hospitals are still in the early planning stages for ICD-10; but this is the time to launch your efforts, if you haven't done so already. It can take up to two years to train your staff and physicians on ICD-10, some experts say.

To learn more:
- read the Healthcare Informatics article
- get the schedule for the AHIMA Academy for ICD-10 

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