Healthcare Revenue Cycle Management, ICD-10, Claims Reimbursement, Medicare, Medicaid

Policy & Regulation News

ICD-10 Implementation Ran Smoother than Originally Expected

ICD-10 implementation costs were in line with expectations, testing improved, and productivity was not hurt, WEDI found in its latest survey.

By Catherine Sampson

- On May 9, the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), announced that the ICD-10 implementation process was moderately smooth because costs were mostly in line with expectations and testing improved. Additionally, productivity levels did not appear to be impacted significantly, a press release revealed.  

Providers found ICD-10 implementation to be smooth because productivity levels were not hurt.

“WEDI has played a tremendous role in educating the industry and helping to best ease the impacts of the ICD-10 transition for many years,” said Jean Narcisi, chair of WEDI. “We wanted this post-implementation survey to be a closing chapter of assessment on why the transition went so well overall and to also leverage specific lessons learned for future large implementations.”

WEDI drew its conclusions from a post-ICD-10 implementation survey conducted in March 2016, which was five months after the code set was implemented. The organization interviewed providers, vendors and health plans.

The survey specifically examined the impacts of delays in ICD-10 implementation. Although changes to the compliance date increased costs for many providers, vendors and health plans, all sectors still said that the delays actually helped improve testing. As a result, the transition to ICD-10 was smoother than some organizations had previously anticipated.

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  • Findings of the previous survey also indicated that the cost of implementation was “on target with expectations” or was “more than anticipated,” WEDI said. Although most providers said that costs were in line with expectations or higher, many claimed that costs were actually less than they had originally anticipated. However, most of the survey participants indicated that they did not expect to realize any return on investment with ICD-10.

    For vendors and health plans, the impact that the code had to productivity was mainly neutral. For providers, on the other hand, ICD-10’s implementation lead to a slight decrease in productivity levels.

    The post-implementation survey also included a section on lessons learned. According to many responses, there was value in starting ICD-10 early. Participants also found that communicating with trading partners and conducting extensive testing was useful. All participants indicated that CMS and WEDI resources were “very helpful.” They also found coding materials from industry organizations to be useful.

    The post-implementation survey also had a low response rate compared to previous similar surveys. This may imply that there was a lack of interest in ICD-10 activities that were not used in operations as well as reassignment of ICD-10 project personnel, WEDI theorized.

    ICD-10 was officially implemented in October 2015. Many healthcare professionals were originally concerned about its implementation. WEDI’s recent survey revealed that the overall transition was much less dramatic and cumbersome than many vendors, providers and health plans had anticipated previously.

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