New survey suggests facilities ill-prepared for ICD-10 implementation

The decision to extend the deadline for implementing new coding regulations under ICD-10 was met with mixed responses.

On one end of the spectrum, certain medical organizations expressed opposition stating that the deadline extension will be disruptive to all the time and resources put towards implementation in recent years.

By contrast, others have stressed the value of the extension for alleviating the added workload already imposed on facilities in the process of transitioning to a system of electronic medical records, electronic billing and esprescribing software.

Interestingly though, while the 2012 HIMSS Leadership Survey of more than 300 respondents indicated a high level of readiness for the original ICD-10 deadline, a new survey conducted by Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) suggests the opposite. For example, the WEDI study – which surveyed roughly 2,600 healthcare professionals – found that only one-third of respondents planned to begin external testing of the new coding system by 2012, while 50 percent were completely unsure when this testing would occur.

Though respondents reported a variety of reasons for the delay in testing and implementation, including competing priorities and working towards other mandates, the survey's researchers still emphasize there's work to be done towards ICD-10.

"We would like to see HHS emphasize the point that work should continue on ICD-10," Jim Daley, WEDI's board-chairman elect, told InformationWeek. "… We see there is still a lot of work to do and … organizations need to keep moving forward. The amount of work required has not changed."

Considering such, facility managers having difficulty balancing preparation for ICD-10 with other projects would be well-advised to partner with a medical technology consulting firm. With a wide variety of useful software products and extensive staff training, these professionals can help ensure a facility is optimally prepared to make the transition when necessary.

Microwize Technology is a leading healthcare IT consultant offering products such as electronic medical records software and medical billing software from top providers like Allscripts and McKesson, including McKesson's Medisoft, Lytec and Practice Choice products.