WEDI: Early prep, testing key to smooth ICD-10 transition

The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), in a recent letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, released results of its ICD-10 post-implementation survey to highlight lessons learned.

"We wanted this post-implementation survey to be a closing chapter of assessment on why the transition went so well overall and to also leverage specific lessons learned for future large implementations," Jean Narcisi, chair of WEDI, says in an announcement.

The organization, which has been conducting ICD-10 surveys since 2009, noted a low response rate to this survey, suggesting lack of interest going forward in non-vital activities related to the coding system.

Still, key lessons, respondents noted, included the value of starting early, communicating with trading partners and conducting extensive testing.

"The willingness of the industry to work together was a major factor in the success of the ICD-10 transition," the letter stated. "The value of testing both internally and externally was reflected in responses to this survey and in actual production results."

The compliance deadline was delayed three times, which added cost and confusion to switch-over, but payers, providers and technology vendors said it gave them more time for testing, which led to a smoother transition in the end.

The majority of respondents also reported a neutral impact on productivity.  

While most respondents said costs were in line with expectations or higher, some providers reported that costs were less.

Despite the fears of chaos projected before the switch, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt has termed the transition as "like what actually occurred on Y2K."

To learn more:
- check out the WEDI announcement