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Physician Practices Cite ICD-10 as Most Impactful Issue

Vitera Healthcare Solutions, an EHR and practice management software and services provider, recently released the results of a survey conducted among physicians and medical office staff nationwide to examine perceptions and determine attitudes toward ICD-10 requirements, and the software updates necessary to meet them.

The ICD-10 codes require the implementation of version 5010 of the X12 HIPAA EDI standards, which could force practices to upgrade or replace their current information systems and modify their existing coding practices. The codes create a highly detailed structure to describe diagnoses and procedures and helps practices monitor the quality of their care delivery while participating in an increasing number of pay-for-performance programs.

“The objective of the study is to help Vitera understand the core issues preventing physicians from upgrading their software regularly,” said Matthew Hawkins, CEO of Vitera Healthcare Solutions. “The results give us insight into practices’ perceptions on ICD-10 and its requirements so we can better service their needs. Even though implementation of 5010 transactions currently remains in the spotlight, as an industry we need to be prepared for what’s to come after March 31.”

The study found that most healthcare professionals consider the transition to ICD-10 to be one of the most impactful issues their practice is currently facing. In fact, 85% of respondents ranked the transition at least the third most impactful current issue. Additionally, the transition affects each role in the practice in different ways: physicians are concerned that ICD-10 will take away from their time to see patients; practice managers are concerned with their increased workload as they coordinate training and manage implementation of new infrastructure to support ICD-10; and billing managers are concerned about changes to their billing process.

The survey results also showed that ICD-10 is just now gaining the attention of most practices. Seventy five percent of participants indicated they are either aware of or just starting work on ICD-10. The size of the practice also plays a role in ICD-10 awareness and concerns about preparing for the transition—the bigger the organization, the greater sense of urgency around ICD-10. However, most practices are technologically up-to-date and are willing to update or purchase a new tool to meet the ICD-10 requirements.

Other key findings include the following:

• Fifty three percent of those surveyed cited the practice manager as the head of the ICD-10 conversion project, whereas 23% cited the billing manager as the project leader. Billing managers are more likely to lead the project in large practices.

• When it comes to practice management software, 59% of respondents will upgrade their existing tool or purchase new practice management or clinical/financial software to meet ICD-10 requirements.

• Thirty nine percent of respondents currently have a certified coder on staff in their practice. Of those not using a clinical coder, only 2% are planning to hire a certified coder.

• Seventy nine percent of respondents with coders on staff plan to recertify them for ICD-10.

“The industry is undergoing major shifts that are changing the way things are done in healthcare,” said Hawkins. “As a vendor, we communicate with physicians on a daily basis and we are learning that most practices understand the value of the transition and want to adapt—even if it is a matter of concern.”

Source: Vitera Healthcare Solutions