The transition to ICD-10 codes is the most significant change in 30 years and many clinicians still don’t realize that without the new codes, all their claims will be rejected after Oct. 1, 2014.

ICD 10 codesThe deadline for implementation won’t be pushed back again.

Practitioners need to prepare now and establish a timeline to give themselves adequate time for staff training, to update/upgrade systems and conduct testing.

Conduct an Impact Analysis

The code transition will impact systems and people in multiple ways.

Clinicians will need to conduct an impact analysis to determine how extensively implementation will affect both manual and electronic systems.

The American Medical Association has indicated that the process of updating clinician and vendor systems will take up to six months.

Finding a Vendor

Practitioners will need to contact vendors to ascertain costs and how quickly implementation of new software and hardware can be completed.

It’s essential to find a vendor that supports staff training and maintains responsibility for updates/upgrades, while minimizing costs.

Clinicians may find they need to locate a new vendor to meet their needs.

Communication Is Key

No practice stands alone and clinicians will need to communicate with one another, their biller or billing service, vendor, clearinghouses and insurance companies to ensure systems are compatible.

Extensive system testing will be required between all the entities involved and will take two to three months to complete.

Custom Templates and Modifications

Clinicians should begin now to familiarize themselves and staff with the new codes. Documentation may need modification to reflect coding changes, create claims and accommodate data collection methods.

Don’t use cookie cutter templates – create customized templates that are relevant to the practice.

An EMR and billing software that provide crosswalks between ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes are critical.

Training for SuccessICD 10 codes

Staff training will take two to three months.

A training schedule will need to be created that provides every staff member with a working knowledge of the codes and how they will affect their duties, but one that minimizes the effects on daily operations.

Training exercises using the new codes is good practice for the implementation deadline.

The transition to ICD-10 codes can’t happen overnight. It takes extensive planning and communication between all the parties involved. ICD-10 isn’t a catastrophe, but getting caught unprepared will be catastrophic for the survival of practices. One break in the chain anywhere along the line and clinicians won’t be paid.