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How to prepare for ICD-10 implementation without the headaches

In the world of health care, change is often a good thing. Change typically means advancement in technology, screening, testing and more; however, chang...

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|Sep 3|magazine9 min read

In the world of health care, change is often a good thing. Change typically means advancement in technology, screening, testing and more; however, change can also be a detriment in the short-term.

An example of this is the upcoming requirement for medical facilities to transition to the new ICD-10 standard. While ICD-10 will allow for medical professionals to provide a more detailed approach to medical coding for staff and patients, the change will likely cause some productivity concerns.

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Why ICD-10 might lead to a drop in productivity

Learning and adapting to any new system in life and in the workplace can take some time. Likely, mistakes will occur at first, especially within the first six months of implementation.

Everyone on your staff will need to get to know the new ways of doing things, including doctors, nurses, coding staff and front desk specialists. This is because ICD-10 will be a dramatic shift from ICD-9 and everyone will need to be informed in order to offer top-quality care and accurate scheduling and billing.

How you can level out and increase productivity

If you haven't already done so, now is the time to introduce training for the ICD-10 transition. Once again, every member of your staff needs to participate on some level in order to ensure that everyone is informed, that the right information is provided to patients and medical staff, and that billing is efficient and correct.

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As is pointed out in the article "Will ICD-10 make your staff less productive?," without proper training of staff, patients, insurance companies and medical equipment vendors, a dramatic slowdown in cash flow could occur, ultimately affecting your ability to keep the doors open.

Develop a renewed focus on patient care and satisfaction

As with any change in the health care industry, corrections will be made along the way, so don't worry if ICD-10 seems a bit difficult to master at first.

Because these changes are sweeping, it is certainly going to take time for everyone to get a good grasp. The important thing to remember is that patient care can not suffer as a result.

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As your facility makes the transition, there will need to be an increased effort to keep patient satisfaction a top priority. Failing to do so could result in negative attention and reviews, leading to a drop in new patients and repeat patients in the age of the Internet.

The bottom line? Take your time to provide proper training, but develop a strategic plan that allows for patients to still receive the best in service while you and your staff learn and train.

About the author: Andrew Rusnak is an author who writes on topics that include health care management and technology.

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