WEDI: ICD-10 transition should be template for future mandates

Research found productivity hiccups in providers’ coding and clinical documentation alongside positive impacts for payers in the areas of claims validation and data analytics. But isn’t it too early to tell whether the transition really went well?
By Tom Sullivan
05:32 PM

Here’s a surprise twist in the ICD-10 saga: Now that the tortuous oft-delayed transition is said and – for the most part – done, the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange is publicly recommending that the federal government use it as a template for future mandates.

WEDI, of course, serves in an advisory role to the Department of Health and Human Services and has been conducting ICD-10 readiness surveys since 2009. So it follows that the organization in March 2016 launched a post-implementation survey to find out why the conversion to ICD-10 "went so well" that WEDI called it a "non-eventful transition."

Its research found that all the compliance deadline delays added cost and confusion to the ICD-10 switch, but also gave payers, providers and technology vendors more time for testing and ultimately made the transition such that most were ready.

Learn on-demand, earn credit, find products and solutions. Get Started >>

[Special Report: Will Oct. 1, 2106 become the real ICD-10 compliance challenge?]

What’s more, WEDI discovered that the majority of respondents said they have experienced a neutral productivity impact — though those who have seen a dip pointed to coding, clinical documentation, authorization and pre-certification as more difficult than before ICD-10 kicked in.

Neither vendors nor health plans have seen negative operation impacts to date and WEDI noted that some even reported positive impacts in claims validation, data analytics and post payment reviews.

"Based on the survey responses and other industry sources it seems the transition as a whole went very well," according to WEDI, "and lessons learned could be leveraged for implementing future mandates."

WEDI is hardly alone in saying that the transition went well, but until CMS and commercial payers start requiring greater specificity in ICD-10 claims come Oct. 1, 2106, isn’t it too early to tell whether the transition was smooth and successful? Are there troubles ahead? 

Twitter: @SullyHIT
Email the writer:

Like Healthcare IT News on Facebook and LinkedIn