3 considerations for stepping up from ICD-9 to ICD-10


An integral part of switching from ICD-9 to ICD-10 is preparing for changes in how you do business. Among the factors that need to be taken into consideration are registration, referrals, clinical documentation, coding resources, superbills and software upgrades.

[See also: ICD-10 tips for the ICD-tender physician ]

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recommends a fundamental approach. Think about the areas where you currently use ICD-9 codes and where you will need to make adjustments. CMS advises that the following three areas are good places to start:

  • Staff members, including coders and other personnel, will need training on the new code sets, software and processes such as documentation. The dynamics of your practice will help you decide whether in-person, webinar or self-directed training will work best.
  • Office processes will be affected by the new ICD-10 codes. How will the transition change referrals, authorizations/pre-certifications, physician orders and patient encounters? Estimate where you will need more time to complete existing tasks, and how that may affect workflow.
  • Software modifications and upgrades will be part of your transition to ICD-10. If you are preparing to adopt an EHR system, talk to your vendor about ICD-10. Be sure to select a certified EHR system that can accommodate ICD-10 codes. If you have an existing contract with an EHR vendor, find out if your ICD-10 upgrade is covered under your contract and if training will be provided.

This initial review will help you determine which activities your practice will need to work on in 2013. You can then budget accordingly.

The CMS ICD-10 website offers additional resources on making the transition.

[See also: ICD-10 upgrade: what to expect from vendors]