As far as big projects go, getting ready for ICD-10 might not seem like as big a deal as, say, installing an electronic medical records system, but healthcare leaders should not underestimate its importance, says Stephen Stewart, CIO of Henry County Health Center in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.
"It is not as obviously visible on the same scale as an EHR is. But underneath it could be every bit as big if done poorly. Because it could grind the whole thing to a halt. You could have the best EMR in the world but if you can't code a claim to get it out the door and get some reimbursement it could stop the world," says Stewart, who is one of the four HIT experts on the FierceHealthIT ICD-10 preparedness panel at this year's HIMSS conference in Las Vegas.
"One of the problems with ICD-10 ... is that it's not very glamorous," he says. "It's kind of like watching paint dry. But you're changing the color of your room and you're going to change it from black to white and you're going to watch some paint dry while you're in the process. If you don't go through that, you'll never get the color change."
Stewart will be joined on the panel, ICD-10 Readiness for Hospital Leaders, by Drexel DeFord, senior vice president and CIO at Seattle Children's Hospital & Research Institute, Carole A. McEwan, ICD-10 migration project manager at SSM Health Care, and Roy Foster, director of regulatory compliance practice at Cerner.
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