ICD-10: Questions to ask your vendor

The implementation of ICD-10 comes with many changes that will not only affect documentation, patient outcomes and the delivery of care, but also emergency department (ED) physicians.

Here’s the reality: ICD-10 requires a substantially increased level of specificity, more robust documentation and clinical content. How are you going to prepare your physicians for ICD-10? Are you expecting them to learn thousands of ICD-10 codes, take a series of eight hour training courses or google the code for the presenting complaint? An ED physician sees a vast amount of chief complaints and varying acuities.

ICD-10 is a documentation problem and the burden will be on the physician because coders can only code what’s been documented. So what does that mean for EDs, hospital systems and providers in the unscheduled care setting? ICD-10 will have a huge financial impact if you don’t have a strong documentation tool in place –physician productivity will decrease and unspecified codes will lead to delayed or rejected claims and reduced revenue.

Make sure your ED has a solution that’s ready and ask your vendor the following questions to determine their ICD-10 readiness:

  • Documentation specificity: Will your documentation meet ICD-10 specificity requirements? Will the solution guide physicians to document enough specificity? Will it flag incomplete documentation?
  • Productivity: Is the implementation of ICD-10 going to demand more time from the clinician?
  • Ease-of-use: How easy is the system to use? What will be involved in implementation / training?
  • Workflow: Does the system impact existing workflow? Will it cause more coder queries? How can the solution support the physician during documentation?
  • Reimbursement: Does your documentation support a complete code to maximized reimbursement for the care provided?
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About the Author

Hank Hikspoors

Hank Hikspoors, Director of Product Development Hikspoors directs ongoing product development efforts for T-System’s emergency department information system, supporting eight million patients per year. Hikspoors is a veteran engineering executive with more than 20 years of innovation in agile and lean processes, product development, product management and software architecture. Experienced in both the healthcare and telecommunications fields, he currently holds a U.S. patent for “Method, System and Computer-Readable Medium For Resource-Based Route Selection” and has a patent pending for T-System’s ICD-10 documentation feedback schema. Hikspoors has presented on various topics at the University of Visakhapatnam and client sites and is an active HIMSS Texas-chapter member. In his spare time, Hikspoors coaches hockey and mentors his two children on the merits of utilizing agile processes for completing homework on time and within budget.

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