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Experts debate over benefits of ICD-10 implementation

December 17, 2012
Uncategorized By LW Consulting Inc.

Medical facilities across the nation are working to not only integrate new technologies into their daily operations, like electronic medical records (EMRs), but also ensure they are complying with government-mandated legislation. These include the push for meaningful use requirements and ICD-10 coding. Both of these compliance measures are designed to create better quality of care for patients and streamline work processes at healthcare organizations.

Many facilities have used healthcare consulting services, which ensures that all employees are properly trained and understand how to use any new systems. Having a hospital consultant who specializes in healthcare IT consulting can be highly beneficial.

Even with many organizations reacting positively, some experts are still not completely on board with the transitions taking place.

David Miller, CIO at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, said in a contribution piece for Hospitals and Health Networks Daily that the move toward ICD-10 implementation is an unfunded mandate that is forced upon healthcare professionals by the federal government. However, he added that the switch could still create several positive benefits.

"Our ability to use new technologies like genomics and proteomics, in conjunction with the new granularity of information that will be required documentation to support the new ICD-10 coding schema, has incredible potential to focus our efforts in treatments for a whole host of clinical conditions," Miller wrote.

Additionally, he said that as diagnosis codes will increase from 13,000 to 68,000 (moving from ICD-9 to ICD-10), patient care will improve. Procedure codes will also increase from 4,000 to 87,000.

As medical facilities work towards full ICD-10 compliance, Miller explained that it will be beneficial to have a system that distinguishes providers by performance, outcome and costs - all crucial factors as the industry shifts into a model with better accountability.