Large organizations press on with ICD-10; worries plague smaller groups

Organizations continue to prepare for testing and the switch to ICD-10, but smaller entities still anticipate difficulties, according to an AHIMA survey.

The survey, conducted in May and June, included representatives from 454 healthcare organizations, most from hospitals and physician practices. 

Sixty-five percent of respondents said they could begin end-to-end testing before the Oct. 1, 2015, deadline. Of those, 63 percent said they would be ready to test by the end of the year. Ten percent had no plans to test and 17 percent didn't know when their organization would be ready to test. About half of those not ready or willing to test were clinics or physician practices, according to an article on the survey in the Journal of the American Health Information Management Association.

External testing was another matter, with respondents less sure when external partners would be ready to test. They were more likely to know the test-readiness of larger partners, such as clearinghouses, IT vendors, acute care hospitals and health plans, according to the study.

In addition, 61 percent of clinics and physician practices believed that documenting patient encounters would be harder, while the same held true for only 35 percent of acute care hospitals. And for adjudicating reimbursement claims, 54 percent of practices thought ICD-10 would make the process more difficult, versus 40 percent of acute care hospitals, according to the report. 

Organizations plan to use the new code set's increased specificity for claims processing and billing (63 percent), quality improvement (63 percent), performance measurement (52 percent), and outcome measurement (41 percent). Those percentages have increased since a similar survey last year, suggesting that "organizations may better recognize the potential benefits of ICD-10 as they grow more familiar with the code set," the report states.

Other highlights of the survey include:

  • 70 percent of organizations plan to conduct additional training and practice to help staff become more familiar with the code set
  • 62 percent say they are using the most recent delay to improve clinical documentation integrity
  • One-third of respondents said they will look to outsource coding to help fill productivity gaps, a trend Black Book Rankings noted earlier

An HIMSS Analytics report last month predicted computer-assisted coding (CAC) tools have the highest growth potential out of 25 support service applications.

To learn more:
- check out the results
- read the article