Where do your ICD-10 implementation plans stand? As of today, 636 days remain until we start using ICD-10. By now, your organization should have created a steering committee for ICD-10 implementation.
That committee should have:
- Completed its assessments of coder knowledge, clinical documentation, forms, policies, and IT systems.
- Determined ICD-10 requirements and expectations for and from all affected departments (which is just about everyone).
- Created a budget, so the organization knows how much to commit to the implementation.
- Developed an implementation timeline, so you have measurable deadlines for the various projects that will encompass your organizations readiness. For example, “By March 30, 2012, all coders will have completed anatomy and physiology refresher training.”
- Identify resources needed for a successful transition.
You also need to talk to your outside vendors and make sure they are on track for October 1, 2014.
If your organization hasn’t completed these steps, you are in danger of not being ready on October 1, 2014.
It’s still too early to start learning the actual ICD-10 codes, but you should be refreshing your knowledge of anatomy and physiology and medical terminology. You should also start becoming familiar with the structure of ICD-10. And if you are an inpatient coder, start learning the root operations definitions for ICD-10-PCS. They can be confusing.
Outside of HIM, physicians should be reviewing documentation requirements and specificity for ICD-10. Clinical documentation improvement specialists should be evaluating current documentation against ICD-10 requirements and planning physician education to get them ready to document in ICD-10.
ICD-10 implementation is not just an HIM problem. It will affect everyone and you need to make sure staff members know what’s coming and how it will change the way they do their jobs. The ICD-10 steering committee’s work doesn’t end with creating a plan. The committee needs to make sure your organization sticks to the plan.
Don’t panic if you get off track, stop and reassess. Figure out how you feel behind and what you need to do to catch up.
If you’re ahead of schedule, great, keep going. Being early will allow more time to practice with the new codes and test your systems. It will also give you time to find if you missed anything during your initial planning. Chances are you will miss something, even if you have a solid plan in place. No plan is ever foolproof, but without a plan, you’ll never reach your implementation goals.