Experience. Integrity. Advocacy.
Experience. Integrity. Advocacy.

Lessons Learned from the ICD-10 Implementation


The ICD-10 implementation is nearly eight months behind us and most experts continue to give the transition a thumbs up on both cost and ease. However, the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) isn’t ready to move on to the next big healthcare challenge just yet without first evaluating what went right and what could have gone better with ICD-10.

In a March 2016 post-implementation survey, WEDI asked respondents to evaluate the implementation process. Though WEDI acknowledged that participation in the survey was low, here are a few key findings from Jim Daley, WEDI Past Chair and ICD-10 co-chair; Director, IT, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina:

  • The extended compliance date added cost to the transition but also allowed time for additional testing and a smoother transition.
  • Starting early, communicating with trading partners, and conducting extensive testing were important in the implementation.
  • While the impact to productivity was primarily neutral for vendors and health plans, there was a slight decrease in productivity for providers.

WEDI’s ICD-10 testing sub-workgroup also solicited members for a list of items they feel were critical during the testing process for ICD-10. Daley also compiled a few key findings from that informal survey:

  • Early communication with vendors is critical.
  • Updating software to the current release was necessary for many providers, which may require added costs.
  • Customers should take a proactive approach to testing in their individual environments and not rely solely on vendors.
  • Testing should not just be a function of IT but of all departments to ensure internal processes are properly modified.
  • Test internal processes and applications first before testing with trading partners.

ICD-10 Monitor also has been tracking the progress of ICD-10 since the implementation. A recent poll they conducted indicates that even though the ICD-10 implementation was smooth for most of the industry, there continue to be a few payment glitches which may actually be increasing 8 months after implementation.

According to their poll, 71 percent of their responders saw an increase in the number of ICD-10 claim denials since implementation, and 58 percent have been experiencing an increase in denial dollars since the implementation of ICD-10.

“… it is still too early to say that all is fine in the land of ICD-10,” writes Kim Charland, senior vice president of clinical innovation with Panacea Healthcare Solutions, in “ICD-10 Denials Are Increasing: Fact or Fiction?” “We are only seven months into this new coding system, so there is still much to see, and I truly believe it will be a couple of years before we realize the true impact.”

For more information about these surveys, review the following resources:

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Charity Singleton Craig

Charity Singleton Craig is a freelance writer and editor who provides communications and marketing services for CIPROMS. She is responsible for creating, editing, and managing all content, design, and interaction on the company website and social media channels in order to promote CIPROMS as a thought leader in healthcare billing and management.

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