According to a new study by the American Medical Association (AMA), ICD-10 implementation is expected to cost practices up to three times more than previously estimated. But while the AMA has been very vocal in its efforts to get the October 1st deadline repealed, CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner recently made it clear that there will be no more delays. ICD-10 is coming, whether we like it or not. So what can practices do to ease the financial burden of implementation? Follow these steps to make your transition into ICD-10 as cost-effective as possible.
1. Start practicing ICD-10 coding today
First, take a deep breath and relax. The sheer number of ICD-10 codes may seem overwhelming, but remember that your practice doesn’t have to learn every single code. You only need to learn the codes you use for your specialty – and those you need to know well.
ICD-10 preparation doesn’t have to be a financial burden, and there are plenty of free ICD-10 conversion tools out there. If you are a MediTouch user, you can start practicing your ICD-10 coding today. Our system provides side-by-side buttons for ICD-9 and ICD-10 coding, allowing you to easily see both codes for each diagnosis. You can use this tool to integrate training on the new code set into your every day practice, so you become familiar with the ICD-10 codes you need before the deadline.
2. Create a training plan and scenarios
Though the AMA identifies ICD-10 training as one of the financial culprits in the ICD-10 transition process, the key is to start preparing early. Make sure your practice has a training plan in place – list scenarios and goals, and set up a realistic timeline for training.
Start today by reviewing your workflows and methods, and create scenarios that your practice commonly codes for. Keep a spreadsheet of these scenarios and the ICD-10 codes associated with them, and make a plan to practice those codes. Regularly test your staff on their ICD-10 code set knowledge, to encourage them to get accustomed with the codes they’ll be using after October 1st.
The saying “A stitch in time saves nine” holds true for ICD-10 preparations; getting an early start on your training process will save money in the long run. Whether you are a physician, office manager, or medical coder, ICD-10 will affect your workflow, and sufficient preparation can make all the difference.
3. Make sure your software is ready
The single largest estimated expense in the AMA study is vendor/software upgrades. These upgrades can end up costing as much as $60,000 for a smaller practice, and $2,000,000 for a larger practice. However, by choosing an EHR that provides the ICD-10 upgrades for free, this cost is reduced to $0. Choosing the right EHR software allows your practice to allocate more resources toward important training – rather than spending your entire ICD-10 budget on software upgrades.
MediTouch EHR is ICD-10 ready, with all ICD-10 codes already pre-programmed into our database. With our cloud-based EHR solution, all upgrades are free and automatic. Find out more about how HealthFusion and MediTouch can help you get prepared for ICD-10 today.