In less than 3 months, your small practice will be obligated to implement a new coding system called ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition). You may feel that this upgrade from the current ICD-9 structure will not complicate the operations of your medical office. Therefore, you can postpone any planning for this government-mandated transition.
However, integrating the new system could be more complex than you might think. That’s why it’s so important to start putting together a strategy now. By assessing your practice as soon as possible, you can avoid the stress and confusion that could occur during this changeover.
ICD-10 Research Code Usage
At first glance, you may believe your practice only needs to replace ICD-9 codes in claims forms and patient charts. But that assumption is incorrect. The reality is that when you investigate your files in greater detail, you might find that ICD-9 codes exist on plan benefit information, medical necessity policies and pre-authorization forms among other documents within your office.
Because ICD-9 codes could easily be discovered in surprising places, it’s imperative that you instruct your administrative staff to begin a comprehensive search through your records. Then you can be sure that when the deadline to execute ICD-10 arrives, your practice will be consistently updated.
Training and Support
You run a busy practice, which can make training difficult to schedule. But the potential challenges involved in transferring to a new system should not be underestimated. It’s quite possible that if you don’t prepare staff members now, your entire office could come to a troubling standstill on October 1st. And that might result in stopping the efficient flow of your practice altogether.
In order to avoid such a catastrophe, it’s essential that you start organizing training sessions for your team. Furthermore, by involving employees now, you might receive critical insights that can help smooth out any bumps in the conversion.
It may seem as if revising ICD-9 to ICD-10 will be a straightforward process without any extra expenses. However, until you look closely at the possible costs associated with implementation, you won’t know if you need to set aside any funds.
Keep in mind that training and technology updates come with costs that you may not have included in your yearly budget. So since you have just under six months to plan, figure out how you can cover the price tag in advance.
Implementing a new system isn’t usually concluded in just one step. As with any technological upgrade, conflicts and problems can occur in the initial stages. For this reason, it’s crucial to give your office time to work out possible bugs well before the deadline.
When you start testing procedures, make sure to ask your staff to contribute their suggestions. Because they may work with the coding system the most, you’ll receive useful insights that will assist your practice during this transition.
As you can see, there are a lot of factors to consider before you convert to ICD-10. But if you take the time to plan today, you can anticipate any issues and take steps to ensure their resolution before October 1st.
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