Born in a family medical practice, the new tools help with converting, organizing, integrating and training for ICD-10.

Non-profit startup launches free ICD-10 conversion tools

By Tom Sullivan
10:35 AM
data transfer

Providers looking for software to ease the ICD-10 transition got a new quiver of options – thanks to a medical student. 

ICD-10 Charts, in fact, joined a growing crop of software tools coming to market as the countdown to compliance keeps moving ahead. What makes it unique, however, is the bold claim that the free software it updated on Tuesday essentially walks providers through the conversion in four steps.

The first tool, ICD-10 Charts Bulk Converter, can be used to transition a user's existing ICD-9 data to ICD-10 for as many as 10,000 codes. Second is to organize that information and once the new codes are in Chart Builder, providers can sort, search, edit, rearrange and remove them and by using the Combination Coder functionality users can consolidate related ICD-9 codes into a single ICD-10 instance. 

The third step is to integrate ICD-10 Chart into the providers practice. That tool enables physicians to save, print or export charts into either Excel files or a variety of EHRs.

For the fourth and final step ICD-10 Charts also made available the Training Academy portal comprising more than 25 modules with both general ICD-10 information and specifics for specialists.

Size and timing

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services tossed hospital executives and industry observers something of a surprise on Monday by conceding to a one-year period in which it will not deny erroneous claims after the October 1, 2015, compliance deadline, so long as those are submitted in ICD-10.

Whereas ICD-10 Charts is not likely to have broad appeal among large or tech-savvy providers already making way toward ICD-10, CMS' move means that now is a good time for any mid-size or small practices and specialty groups to evaluate their options for migrating to the new codes.

Indeed, plenty of options exist, ranging from 3M Health Information Systems recently-launched suite of conversion and workflow tools for ICD-10, offerings from Trizetto and Proviti.

Some EHR vendors, including Amazing Charts, athenahealth, NextGen, Practice Fusion and others are advertising that they will help customers meet the mandate.

Industry associations such as the AAPC, AHIMA and Healthcare IT News owner HIMSS, meanwhile, are making available crosswalks, educational and other resources. And there are some easy-to-find online tools for anyone who only needs to convert to ICD-10 one code at a time. 

Why it's free

ICD-10 Charts co-founder Parth Desai first met ICD-9 back in high school. At that time he was working for his father, in the family's internal medicine practice, where his mother served as, among other roles, a medical coder.

Then, two years after earning an undergraduate degree, Desai moved back home before medical school, was introduced to ICD-10, and recognized immediately how difficult it could be for physicians.

"My mom said, 'you have to find us a training program to get our codes done,'" Desai said. "There were plenty of good tools on the market, but none of them catered to practices. They were just too expensive."

So ICD-10 Charts went a different direction. This spring, in fact, with about 10,000 visitors to its site and some 5,000 users, Desai took the beta to his school, Mercer University School of Medicine, and switched to a virtual private server with capacity for at least 1 million simultaneous users and the ability to add more if needed.

"I'm in medical school, my dad's a physician, my brother's a physician, my girlfriend, she's in med school. Our main interest is in helping people – especially these practices struggling with so much," Desai explained. "The last thing I wanted was for my dad to shut his practice and work at a hospital because of regulations and not because he's ready to retire."