ICD-10: Many clinicians don't see the value

Despite the one-year reprieve given to healthcare organizations in the implementation of ICD-10, many still don't understand its benefits and have no plans to use the new coding system beyond billing, according to a new survey by the eHealth Initiative.

The non-profit organization polled 281 hospitals, healthcare systems, physicans  and others. They said they expect to encounter significant barriers, challenges and revenue losses with implementation, according to an announcement.

Among the findings:

  • The main potential benefits they identified from the system's enhanced specificity were quality improvement (51 percent), outcome measurement (40 percent), and performance measurement (39 percent). However, more than a quarter of all respondents and one in three clinicians said they had no specific goals to leverage ICD-10 other than for claims processing.
  • Only 16 percent of respondents expect higher revenue after implementation, while 37 percent expect a moderate to significant decline. Nearly 60 percent of clinics and physician practices expect a significant decline in revenue.
  • They said the most significant barriers to ICD-10 implementation were staffing and training; workflow and productivity; lack of knowledge; and cost of software upgrade. Clinics, physician practices, and acute care hospitals foresee the greatest challenges with implementation and afterward.
  • While most have a strategy to deal with the negative impacts, 21 percent have no plan.

Nevertheless, the American Hospital Association and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association recently assured Congress that their members will be ready by the implementation deadline. Out of roughly 750 hospitals polled by AHA, 94 percent indicated that they would meet the Oct. 1, 2014, deadline.

Physician practices, however, are lagging. Only 4.8 percent of more than 1,200 medical groups responding to a poll by the Medical Group Management Association indicated that they had made "significant" progress in their ICD-10 implementation efforts.

National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari has made it abundantly clear, though, that the deadline will not be pushed back further.

To learn more:
- read the announcement

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