5 Key ICD-10 Process Management Strategies to Cope With the Delay

In the wake of President Barack Obama signing a bill last week that will delay the transition to ICD-10, healthcare leaders must reassess their plans to switch to the new coding system.

The delay of at least one year has frustrated many industry stakeholders and providers who were on track to make the switch on the original go-live date of Oct. 1, 2014. On the other hand, some hospital leaders view the extra time before the ICD-10 transition as a "blessing," says John Dugan, a partner in PwC's Health Industries practice. "This was very good news to them, getting an additional year if not longer," he says of his company's hospital clients.

DoctorRegardless of whether they view the delay in a positive or negative light, healthcare organizations must adjust their preparation efforts. Mr. Dugan identified the following five actionable steps for process management that will help providers to adjust their ICD-10 project plans.

1. Focus on communication. Hospital and health system leaders need to figure out their communications strategies immediately, Mr. Dugan says. They need to decide on the message they want to send to internal or external stakeholders about any postponed preparation activities or plans to move forward regardless of the delay. "I would be very focused on that, right out of the gate," he says.

2. Assess the budgetary impact. Providers should determine the impact the delay will have on their operating budgets not only during the current fiscal year but over the next two or three years, Mr. Dugan says. "The implications of them slowing down their initiatives for this year is something we want to make sure that our clients think about," he says.

For instance, Pamela Arora, senior vice president and CIO of Children's Medical Center Dallas, has estimated the two years' delay (the transition was also delayed in 2012) will cost her organization more than $1 million.

3. Use the time to upgrade the revenue cycle and improve clinical documentation. The extra year gives hospitals and health systems the chance to revisit programs that might have gotten put on a backburner because of the fast-approaching ICD-10 deadline. "Our clients over the last two years, in light of movement toward ICD-10, have been not as focused on clinical documentation and case mix improvement," Mr. Dugan says. "Our CFOs really need to step back and say, 'Hey, I need to make sure that my case mix is driving the performance that I'm expecting. I want to take a cold, hard look at my clinical documentation programs.'"

4. Review and redirect resources to tackle other projects. Although ICD-10 preparation should still continue, hospitals should also take a look at their project portfolios over 12 to 24 months and resequence them, Mr. Dugan says. "Now, you're able to redirect some resources…to something else strategic, whether it's look at your EHR initiative, or whether it's looking at further strategizing around patient access," he says.

5. Make sure all preparation activities continue to progress. Despite the delay, healthcare leaders should make sure ICD-10 transition efforts are still moving forward. "Don't just put pencils down," Mr. Dugan says. "You may be able to take a pause, but make sure that updated timeline does continue to carry out activities in an efficient manner."

Overall, Mr. Dugan says healthcare organizations that stay on track with their ICD-10 preparation efforts will give themselves a competitive advantage. "Think of the opportunity that they will have if they truly move toward coding under ICD-10, of having that wealth of baseline info available ahead of the go-live date," he says. "It would be very wise to continue to go forward."

More Articles on ICD-10:
Survey: Half of Healthcare Professionals Wanted an ICD-10 Delay  
4 Key Findings on HealthCare Professionals' Reactions to the ICD-10 Delay  
4 Stakeholders Glad for the ICD-10 Delay 


© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2020. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.


Featured Webinars

Featured Whitepapers