Solving the Top 3 ICD-10 Medical Coding Challenges
Hospitals, large physician practices and other healthcare facilities are faced with major challenges with the move to ICD-10 and with new or updated EMR/EHR implementations. While there are a variety of issues which will be faced by healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, clinicians, as well as administrative and billing staff), the individuals I think about the most in my role as a Technical Solutions Consultant for Centrinet are CIOs and Directors of IT. In my view, the top 3 challenges they face during their ICD-10 implementations are:
Training Issues for Medical Coders and Clinical Staff
Financial and Budget Constraints
Productivity Problems with ICD-10 Implementations
ICD-10 is the 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), a medical classification list by the World Health Organization (WHO). It codes for diseases, signs and symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or diseases. Healthcare professionals are now having to deal with the updated coding standards which have increased from about 16,000 codes under ICD-9 to more than 65,000 codes under ICD-10. The sheer increase in the number of codes means increased complexity for healthcare professionals who must navigate through a larger volume of selections and make decisions on which code is the right code to select and use.
While this may sound like a daunting task, it is exacerbated by the fact that many hospitals and healthcare facilities are still running ICD-9 systems alongside the newer ICD-10 systems. Facilities may be required to run the two system in parallel during implementation and testing, and to give staff and healthcare coders the time to learn the new system.
Training Issues for Medical Coders
In order to implement this new series of ICD-10 codes, hospitals and healthcare facilities need to ensure that staff members are trained on the new codes, how to look them up and how to properly utilize them. While the coding systems have been upgraded or new systems are being implemented, facilities will typically also have a software training system running as well. Depending on the size of the hospital or healthcare practice, training can be a significant human resource issue. Getting large numbers of people trained on the new system can be a challenge since this can take 20-60 hours of training depending on the individual’s role and position in the organization. Since the training must often take place on a rolling or part-time basis, organizations require staff to continue to work within the old system while they are also learning the new system.
Financial and Budget Constraints
Moving to ICD-10 has significant costs. Hospitals and healthcare organizations need to upgrade their existing systems, train their existing staff which includes buying training materials or hiring certified trainers, and they may need to support staff augmentation costs to help them get over the hump of dual coding and to cover learning curves. Staff augmentation may be in the form of temporary employees coming into the facility or it may be in the form of remote coders, stay at home employees based anywhere in the world remoting in to the organization’s systems to help with the medical coding.
So, with these significant challenges for hospitals, large physician practices, nursing homes, hospices, and extended care facilities, what are CIOs and Directors of IT to do? The solution is virtualization, and this is the core of what Centrinet Corporation does. Centrinet can help identify the specific challenges facing your organization. Then, we will prescribe the most effective method of alleviating them, whether it be virtualizing the medical coding software to provide direct secure access to test, sandbox, and training systems, virtualizing your client desktop or some combination of the two. Application and desktop virtualization enables secure access to anyone, anywhere in the world, on any device, providing the simple access you need to tackle these ICD-10 challenges as well as many others you face every day.
Centrinet works with numerous large hospital networks throughout Georgia, Florida and the South East to virtualize EMR and EHR systems and provide virtualization solutions to solve budget, space and training issues. Contact Centrinet today to discuss your specific EMR/EHR or virtualization needs.