What to ask software vendors about ICD-10

An advisory sent Aug. 8 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reminds healthcare providers to contact their software vendor to discuss ICD-10 implementation plans and timelines for system upgrades, testing, staff training and ongoing support.

"This will allow you to plan your implementation activities, budget and timeline accordingly," the notice explained.

To help you get the conversation started, CMS provided the following questions to consider asking an existing vendor or a new vendor about their ICD-10 plans.

Existing vendors

  • Will a mapping or crosswalk strategy be used between ICD-9 and ICD-10 code sets?
  • What is your timeline for system modifications and what do those modifications include?
  • Will you continue to support applications or are you discontinuing some products in the wake of the ICD-10 transition?
  • Are there any new hardware requirements associated with ICD-10-related software changes?
  • Will training be provided for any new ICD-10-related functionality, and is there a charge?
  • Is there a phased approach for implementing ICD-10?

New vendors

  • How does your product simplify my organization's transition to ICD-10?
  • How does the functionality offered by your system compare with my current system?
  • Does your implementation require a complete system conversion?
  • Based on what I already have in place, how much will it cost to convert to your system?
  • What are the costs of maintenance for your product?
  • Who in this area is using your current system? (Talking to vendors' existing clientele in your area about their experience with that vendor may help you identify if the vendor's services are a good fit for your organization.)
  • What kind of product quality guarantees do you offer, and are these guarantees included in the contract?
  • What is your timeframe for implementation?

Visit CMS's ICD-10 website for additional news and resources on the transition.