ICD-10 readiness: shaky optimism

Even this close to the deadline more than half of respondents to a new survey said they are not yet on course
By Tom Sullivan
09:00 AM
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ICD-10 is officially a month away and all indications suggest this Oct. 1 will be the day that finally matters for the code set conversion.

Despite multiple delays, years of controversy, and billions invested into the transition, however, the persistent question remains: Exactly how ready are providers for ICD-10? 

There are no easy answers. Research published Tuesday morning, in fact, indicates that 85 percent of respondents are optimistic that they will be ready -- but the plot thickens because 57 percent also answered that they are not on track right now.

That's according to an August 2015 study by Porter Research and commissioned by Navicure. Like any survey either conducted or sponsored by a vendor, the results should be considered alongside the fact that Navicure sells cloud-based billing and payment solutions and stands to benefit, if not gain customers, by bringing this information to the industry's attention.

But it's also worth noting that other studies have found ICD-10 readiness a bit disconcerting, most notably the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange, the industry's seminal gauge on where healthcare organizations stand. WEDI cited findings in early August that while larger providers are nearing readiness their smaller brethren are likely to experience claims and cash flow disruption; Porter and Navicure's survey spanned a broad range of provider sizes with the majority of respondents working at groups with 10 or fewer physicians. 

The companies boiled their findings down to two words: shaky optimism. 

Part of the latter is the 43 percent who said they are on track today, a doubling of the research Navicure published earlier this year putting that number at 21 percent. Yet even among those who either will or at least hope to be ready by Oct. 1, more than half anticipate that "negative impacts on their organization's finances, operations and staff morale" will result from the ICD-10 conversion.

"It is not too late to prepare for the transition," Porter and Navicure advise in the report, which Healthcare IT News obtained an exclusive early look at on Monday. "Organizations should begin end-to-end testing if they haven't already, especially knowing their major concern is the impact of cash flow from ICD-10."

That last tidbit -- respondents biggest concern being disrupted cash flow -- was another survey finding. Others include negative impacts on: clinical documentation improvement, the patient experience, staff productivity. 

What concerns you the most about the ICD-10 conversion? Something on the above list or a different matter entirely?

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