Medicare chooses 3M to assist in ICD-10 conversion

Due to the ongoing transitions in the medical industry to new technologies such as medical billing software and electronic medical records, government healthcare organizations are taking steps to meet the upcoming deadlines.

On September 9, 3M, a St. Paul, Minnesota-based company that designed the ICD-10 system, announced that it would assist the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services with the process of updating its computer systems for its ICD-10 transition. The federal government says the organization's software will help it translate to the new coding in time for the October 1, 2013 deadline.

While the federal government has already made its decisions on how to handle the switch, small facilities need to begin to tackle the many difficult questions that come with the process.

"A big decision for any entity is: Are you going to take [ICD-9] codes and translate them to [ICD-10] in the I-9 environment?" Richard Averill, senior vice president for clinical and economic research at 3M, told InformationWeek. "If you do so, then you miss out on the benefits of I-10."

Small facilities should consider the pros and cons of this decision before making the switch. However, those without the ability to turn to an experienced healthcare IT professional may want to hire the services of a company that can provide guidance and recommendations on how best to handle this aspect of the transition.

For example this company may be able to provide insights, such as how choosing to continue to work in an I-9 framework could lead medical professionals to lose out on the new codes that are meant to increase the accuracy of patients' information.

Smaller facilities also want to choose a provider that offers more focused support during the process. To find the best provider, neurologists, surgeons, rheumatologists and other healthcare professionals should choose to work with a company that can provide hands-on training, installation and support with reliable Medisoft, Lytec, Practice Choice and Allscripts software.