ICD-10 Timeline: How to take advantage of the delay

It's not hard to imagine that delaying ICD-10 implementation for a year could help any healthcare organization. As long as they take the time to get it right instead of procrastinating.

One of the ways to do that is through clinical documentation improvement (CDI). It will reap rewards before the ICD-10 deadline.

It also may be a good time to look at computer assisted computing (CAC).

That idea was advanced Monday at American Health Information Management Association's (AHIMA) 2012 ICD-10 Summit by Keith Olenik, ICD-10 project manager at Cook County Health and Hospitals System in Illinois. He was part of a panel discussing the ICD-10 transition. Olenik brought up how medical coder productivity is expected to drop because of ICD-10 implementation. He suggested CAC and CDI initiatives as ways to boost productivity before it takes a hit.

That may be a lot to take on for many healthcare information technology (HIT) departments - especially if the ICD-10 implementation deadline is Oct. 1, 2013. But a year delay may give them the time to take on such projects.

There are other ways to take advantage of the delay.

Josh Gray, managing director, The Advisory Board Company, lists five steps that healthcare providers can take to get ICD-10 implementation right:

  1. "Maintain momentum"
  2. "Improve revenue cycle operations to generate a cash buffer"
  3. "Recalibrate ICD-10 work plans"
  4. "Pursue strategic clinical documentation improvement"
  5. "Quantify overall service line impacts"

Basically there are three options to get any project done:

  1. Fast
  2. Cheap
  3. Good

You can only pick two of the three. Now that the healthcare industry has an extra year, fast doesn't have to be one of the options.

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