South Florida Hospital News
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January 2012 - Volume 8 - Issue 7




2012: Build a Solid ICD-10 Foundation

When the Department of Health and Human Services announced its final rule for the International Classification on Diseases, 10th Revision or ICD-10 conversion, many hospital and healthcare leaders did not immediately embrace the October 1, 2013, implementation deadline. But the countdown continues with the reality that hospital and healthcare organizations have less than two years remaining to properly plan and prepare for the transition.
At this point, hospital executives working with their health information departments should be making strategic decisions on how to make the transition as smooth as possible prior to the deadline. During the decision-making process it is important to keep top of mind that ICD-10-CM/PCS represent more than just an increase in codes and field sizes, and that training and education are key components in a successful transition.
Why make the change? The ICD-10 systems are better structured and more flexible to accommodate emerging healthcare technologies. Codes and coded data are more widely used today than when the United States transitioned to ICD-9-CM more than 30 years ago. The ICD-10 code sets were designed to provide greater specificity and clinical detail to evaluate and improve the quality of patient care. Implementation of ICD-10-CM/PCS will also advance healthcare by producing better data needed for quality measurement, patient safety, public health monitoring, research and reimbursement.
Although it’s not time to actually start ‘coding’ in the ICD-10 system, it is essential to build a solid foundation and become familiar with the code sets and guidelines during 2012. Now is also the time to assess and complete the training needs for everyone in the hospital. Sound preparation will ensure a smoother transition to ICD-10.
AHIMA has been leading the effort to provide tools and resources to help hospitals and other provider organizations make an efficient transition to the ICD-10 classification system. To assist in the planning process, AHIMA offers providers role-based training models that identify key tasks or targets that must be completed within specific timeframes by particular types of healthcare settings. Other resources include detailed step-by-step guidelines, implementation milestones, recommended impact analyses to determine budgeting and training levels needed, “Train the Trainer” programs, and industry surveys to monitor the progress of steps toward implementation and readiness.
Recent AHIMA-conducted surveys reflect good news on ICD-10 compliance. Survey results found that the number of healthcare organizations behind the implementation curve is rapidly shrinking. According to the most recent survey, conducted in August 2011, 85% of respondents indicated work has begun on ICD-10 planning and implementation, up from 62% reported a year earlier; and well above the 55% reported in April 2010. The survey also revealed that organizations are further along in creating ICD-10 budgets and assessing training needs for staff.
While survey results show more organizations have at least started conducting impact analyses, more work must be done as only 49% report having started making changes based on their assessments.
Throughout 2012, the focus of the ICD-10-CM/PCS transition must shift from Phase 1-Preparation to Phase 2-Implementation Preparation. AHIMA continues to remain deeply committed and engaged in supporting the healthcare industry during the transition and has developed a “Top 10 List: Phase 2 for ICD-10-CM/PCS Implementation Preparation.” The list outlines tasks to assist all types of healthcare facilities in the implementation of ICD-10. This list was designed to highlight key areas and should be used in tandem with the more complete “ICD-10-CM/PCS Transition: Planning and Preparation Checklist” at
The timely and successful implementation of the ICD-10-CM/PCS code sets is crucial to support current information practices to an environment that includes universal use of electronic health record and personal health record systems, data uniformity, and data exchange or interoperability. The successful transition to ICD-10-CM/PCS by the October 2013 deadline is essential to support both existing and future health information demands.
Lynne Thomas Gordon is Chief Executive Officer, American Health Information Management Association. For more information, visit
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