For many private practice physicians, the ICD-10 delay was a godsend, giving them another year to prepare for the biggest change in American medicine. But one consequence of pushing back a deadline is that some people may be inclined to wait until the last minute—the new last minute, that is—to get everything in order.
While October 2015 seems like eons away, it will take months for many private practices to get their EHR and medical billing systems up to snuff. That means, once again, the healthcare industry will experience a mad dash to the finish.
According to a survey conducted by the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange late last year, many independent physicians took the delay as an invitation to ease up on the steps that will be necessary for implementation. Not good news.
Don’t get left on the outside looking in
According to the survey, about two-thirds of providers who responded said the implementation delay led them to slow down or even suspend their efforts to move forward with ICD-10 preparedness. This, of course, was not the intended result of the delay.
As a result of the deadline change, the survey revealed that about half of providers have finished their impact assessments. While that may sound encouraging, it’s about the same percentage as the year before, indicating that providers have really been dragging their feet getting started. Also not good news.
Another 40 percent of providers say that they intend to have their impact assessments done during 2015 or they don’t know when they will finish them. In most cases, it’s independent physicians who have the steepest climb to be ready by October 2015.
Even fewer providers have commenced external testing—only about a third. The 2014 survey found respondents less confident of nailing down a specific timeframe for this important step than the 2013 survey, which doesn’t bode well for their profitability.
Many smaller practices may be concerned about price. However, spending on EHR software and practice management systems that are ICD-10 compatible should be thought of more as an investment, rather than simply an expense. The expensive part will occur if the deadline comes and goes without proper ICD-10 implementation.
Is your practice ready for ICD-10? Get a free ICD-10 risk assessment online now from the ICD-10 experts at AdvancedMD.
Source: Miliard, M. (2014, Sept. 26). ICD-10 delay has hurt readiness. In Healthcare IT News.