If you’re finally planning for the ICD-10 implementation, there are timelines and checklists to guide you. But sometimes you need to dig a little deeper to find advice that will help create a smoother ICD-10 transition.
1. Maximize your clinical documentation improvement (CDI) program
“Everything else unfolds from your clinical documentation improvement,” Tully says. Improve the documentation now that you’re using ICD-9 codes. “You have to be successful at ICD-9 before you’re successful at ICD-10.”
2. Educate your clinical documentation specialists and medical coders
“The burden of making ICD-10 work is with the documentation specialists and coding professionals.” They need to explain ICD-10 coding to physicians even if you use peer-to-peer training. They need to start understanding the new code set now to be a resource.
3. Carefully examine the technology available
Tully says that medical practices need “a very thoughtful, careful evaluation when you hook up with a vendor.” Make sure the product is tested and the vendor has a track record.
No matter what you buy though, you need to have quality documentation. “If you put in low-octane documentation, you get low-octane results,” Tully says.
4. Integrate electronic health record (EHR)
Look carefully at your EHR support and how it integrates with physician workflow. “Making it easier, making it more compliant, for the physicians to actually document,” Tully says.
5. Practice ICD-10 coding
Decide when the medical coders start dual coding and what DRGs to focus on. This will strengthen their expertise, highlight deficiencies in documentation and give the medical practice the ability to forecast changes in revenue.
Note that this will take resources – time and money. But “I would never expect a facility to dual code every single case or record that came down the pike,” says Tully. “I would suggest they look at the top 20 DRGs and dual code those.”
This is largely driven by the financial leadership. CFOs want to see if there is a revenue disparity between ICD-9 and ICD-10.
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