Healthcare News & Insights

ICD-10 readiness: 6 questions to ask EHR vendors

With the deadline now less than two years away, health care providers need to start preparing for the transition to ICD-10 codes. One part of that preparation: Making sure EHR vendors are ready. 

Despite the feds delaying the ICD-10 transition by an additional year, many health care organizations are still struggling to meet the new October 2014 deadline.

In fact, nearly all (94%) of physicians, administrators, office managers and billers have concerns about the impact the ICD-10 transition could have on their practices, according to a survey from Nuesoft Technologies. That includes 60% that are “significantly” or “highly” concerned.

Practices are concerned about having the train employees to use the ICD-10 code set, which contains more than eight times as many codes as ICD-9, as well as having to update their processes and workflows to reflect the changes.

But along with all of the other ICD-10 preparation steps health care organizations must take, there’s one important area not to neglect: making sure the organization’s health IT systems will be able to handle the change. That’s especially true for providers using or considering electronic health records — they must be sure their EHR systems will be able to handle the new codes by the time the ICD-10 deadline comes around.

To do that, here are some questions providers evaluating systems can ask potential EHR vendors, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services:

  • Will the system be able to accommodate ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS code sets?
  • Will the system be able to accommodate both ICD-10 and ICD-9 while the organization transitions?
  • Will the vendor offer training and support for ICD-10, and will it be included in the contract or cost an additional fee?

And providers that already have an EHR system can ask their current vendor:

  • Will upgrades to accommodate ICD-10 cost extra?
  • Will those upgrades be available before the deadline so there is time to test the system?
  • What training and support will be offered and will it cost extra?

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