Precyse Open Letter on ICD-10 Final Announcement
Wayne, PA and Alpharetta, GA Aug 29, 2012 — Precyse, a leader in health information management (HIM) technologies and services, leading up to the AHIMA 2012 Annual Conference and Exposition, released the following open letter from Chris Powell, president of Precyse, to all healthcare colleagues regarding the announced ICD-10 final rule. The open letter, answering a critical question at this hour: “How do we reinvigorate our planned ICD-10 implementation roadmaps?” is available below. AHIMA attendees are encouraged to visit Precyse at Booth #236 to continue the ICD-10 conversation.
On August 24, the CMS published a rule finalizing the compliance deadline for converting to the ICD-10 system of diagnostic and procedural coding to Oct. 1, 2014 from Oct. 1, 2013. HHS said the extra time would allow healthcare organizations – especially small organizations – adequate time to get prepare for the changeover.
“By delaying the compliance date of ICD-10 from October 1, 2013, to October 1, 2014, we are allowing more time for covered entities to prepare for the transition to ICD-10 and to conduct thorough testing,” HHS said in the rule. “By allowing more time to prepare, covered entities may be able to avoid costly obstacles that would otherwise emerge while in production.”
Precyse has not stopped preparing for the implementation of the new coding rules and stands ready to support and meet the needs of nearly 1,000 clients – many who rely on our management, staffing and technology solutions – through their training and implementation process. Because Precyse not only supports, but actually operates, entire HIM and coding departments for some of these clients, here are our recommendations:
1. Documentation. Increase your clinical documentation training programs for physicians and other caregivers. You should develop processes, guidance and support for improved clinical documentation under ICD-10. Improved documentation skills – even minor changes such as more specificity in their notes – create obvious financial and non-financial rewards: fewer claims denials, reduced RAC audit exposure, improved case mix index, and improved cash flows. Most important for all of us, patient care is improved when downstream clinicians can review more complete chart notes and better data is available for analytics and comparative studies. Target high volume specialties in your organization most impacted by ICD-10 and train these specialists in proper documentation while training the coding team on accurate coding; then, move to the next specialty for training.
2. Training and Development. Act now to invest in the training of your coders AND those who will use
the data. Improve the basic skills of your coders in ICD-9 areas that will also be required in ICD-10. The transition to ICD-10 has pushed healthcare to appropriately invest in training our coders as skilled knowledge workers. As part of our own ICD-10 preparations, Precyse assessed the coding skills of nearly 300 coders on our staff to evaluate their ICD-10 readiness. We found additional training needs related to anatomy, physiology and pathopharmacology, as well as opportunities to improve their understanding of coding system logic and principles. So Precyse invested in and developed a comprehensive and multifaceted training program that can be delivered via virtual webinars and our online Precyse University, while developing individual training plans for every coder. This investment has paid off for Precyse clients handsomely, yielding a better case mix index for hospitals, improved coding compliance audit results, increased coder retention, and attracting new coder recruits who are eager to develop and perfect their skills. So we recommend that you perform side-by-side ICD-9 and ICD-10 coding, assessing the documentation and coding gaps and target training based on these findings.
3. Build a strong foundation for process improvement. Assess the flow of your information across your organization and develop a plan to address gaps through process improvement and technology. Invest in automated systems that streamline the entire clinical documentation process. ICD-10 was never just about re-training medical coders–it was and is about having better data about patients and their treatments, affording vast opportunities for improvement in how data are captured and processed. This leads to a more complete and useful set of codes, which is crucial in a fully automated electronic medical record environment. Today, inefficient, labor-intensive workflows abound, whether involving clinical information inputs such as dictation and transcription; service approvals, coding, physician queries, and other myriad facets involved in billing for services; or abstracting and analyzing quality indicators to improve patient care. We also recognize the promise of future innovations such as automated speech recognition, Computer Assisted Coding using Natural Language Comprehension™ (NLC), and clinical decision support tools – but know that realizing their full promise tomorrow requires that we improve how current users interact with and use their systems today. Those of us in the health care information management/information technology community must use our skills to innovate for clinicians. We must develop workflow platforms and applications that allow health care providers to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. We do not want to add more time and complexity to an already burdensome process.
At Precyse, our vision is a world in which meaningful information is available, whenever and wherever needed, and this information helps save time, money and lives. We are an innovation company that listens carefully to our clients and prospects; every day we challenge ourselves to come back to these clients with solutions that solve their business problems while improving patient care and outcomes. We pledge to our clients and future prospects that we will never stop innovating in the midst of very challenging times.