Survey: Providers Still Not Sold on ICD-10

The healthcare industry continues to lag in effectively communicating the benefits of the expanded ICD-10 code set, according to a survey recently conducted by the eHealth Initiative in collaboration with the American Health Information Management Association.

The survey sought to examine healthcare organizations’ perceived effects, benefits, challenges and opportunities of implementing ICD-10. While respondents listed quality improvement (51%), outcome measurement (40%) and performance measurement (39%) as the top three benefits they expected to achieve from moving to the new standards, 26% of respondents reported that they had no specific goals to leverage with ICD-10 other than for claims processing. Further, only 16% of respondents said they expected the migration to lead to higher revenue, while 37% said they expected a significant decline in revenue.

In addition to revenue inconsistencies, respondents indicated they expected to face several other barriers in the first six months post implementation, including staffing and training, workflow and productivity, lack of knowledge and cost of software upgrades. Seventy-nine percent of respondents, however, indicated they have strategies to mitigate coder productivity issues. For example, during the transition process of parallel coding using both ICD-9 and ICD-10, 53% expect to use data by educating coders and 47% plan to test internal applications and systems.

But other obstacles likely will prevent healthcare organizations from fully realizing the potential benefits and improvements that ICD-10 can offer until the second quarter of 2015, according to the survey. Further, clinics, physician practices and acute care hospitals indicated they expect to encounter the highest levels of barriers to ICD-10 as well as challenges post-implementation. What’s more, many clinicians indicated that they are neither satisfied with the code set nor do they believe that ICD-10 will be worth the investment.

Of the 281 respondents who completed the survey, 27.7% were directors of health information management, 21.5% were managers/supervisors, 7.7% were clinicians/physicians/nurses, another 7.7% were executives/presidents/vice presidents, and 4.4% were coders or held other positions. The respondents were employed by a variety of organizations, 45% of which were acute care hospitals, 12% were integrated delivery systems and another 12% were clinical or physician practices. The remaining 31% of respondents represented ambulatory surgery centers, behavioral/mental health facilities, consulting services, HIEs, home health and hospice organizations, labs, pharmacies, payers, regional extension centers, and vendors.