The following is a guest blog post by Wendy Coplan-Gould, Founder and President of HRS Coding.
Physicians see ICD-10 as a mixed bag of distraction, expense and long-term advantages. They’ve heard grossly exaggerated messages about ICD-10’s complexity and cost. Confusion has led to complacency and obstinacy across physician practices and medical groups.
Conversely, some physician practices and medical groups eagerly await ICD-10’s ability to accurately describe their high-risk patients, improve data mining capabilities, and demonstrate complexity of cases. The opportunity for cleaner data, better quality scores and greater patient safety are three more physician-friendly benefits of ICD-10 as described in my previous ICD-10 post on EMR & HIPAA.
Recent research conducted with a 20-physician focus group, and presented during AHIMA’s 2014 Convention & Exhibit, revealed three common themes with regard to physician perceptions of ICD-10 and its effect on their practices.
Physicians are concerned about the following:
- How specific their clinical documentation has to be for correct ICD-10 code assignment.
- Obtaining accurate reimbursement under ICD-10.
- Receiving ICD-10 training from the hospitals they serve.
With the advent of a new year, now is the time for hospitals and healthcare systems to dispel physician myths about ICD-10 and actively engage practices—one medical group at a time.
Five ICD-10 Realities and Physician Engagement Strategies
Is ICD-10 as difficult for doctors as once portrayed? The resounding answer for 2015 is “no.”
When introduced one physician office at a time, the implementation of ICD-10 is relatively easy. Consider these proven strategies to foster greater physician buy-in for ICD-10.
- Most physicians will only use a small subset of ICD-10 codes—dramatically decreasing the amount of time required for training and preparation (1-2 days). Target training efforts toward the 80 percent of diagnosis and procedure codes that are used repeatedly within each practice or specialty.
- When hospitals focus on improving EHR documentation templates, physicians are more productive, efficient and engaged in ICD-10 efforts. Foster inclusion by helping physicians build better documentation templates across all EHR applications.
- Physicians learn best from other physicians. Find physician documentation champions within each specialty and make ICD-10 learning fun.
- The best way to minimize claims denials and ensure proper reimbursement for both hospitals and physicians under ICD-10 will be the avoidance of non-specific codes. Focus on helping physicians document better and give them tools such as real-time documentation aides and prompts to create more succinct, accurate and complete clinical documentation.
- Physician practices must also be included in end-to-end testing for ICD-10. Be sure to include them within your organization-wide testing plans. Even when testing is only for payer acknowledgement, it provides segue for physician practice coding and billing staff to practice submitting ICD-10 codes.
Blaze a New Path with Physicians in 2015
Last year left many hospitals feeling defeated regarding ICD-10 and their physician preparedness efforts. Money was spent and staff resources were exhausted. Congress dealt a devastating blow to ICD-10 budgets, timelines and implementation teams.
But the ship hasn’t sailed. There is still time to actively engage your medical staff in preparing for ICD-10. Erase your original message to physicians that ICD-10 is …read more