ICD-10 Preparations and Potential Costs

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The transition from ninth version of the Internal Classification of Diseases (ICD) to the current ICD-10 version is going to require healthcare providers to make changes to the way that patient visits, procedures and medical treatments are coded. This is largely due to the fact that ICD-10 codes are more specific and the number of available codes will be much greater. ICD-10 is also going to affect other practice processes, and healthcare professionals will likely need to make financial investments in order to prepare for the ICD-10 changes.

The Nachimson Advisors consulting firm estimates that small practices may need to spend about $83,000, whereas larger health systems should expect ICD-10 costs in the millions. These costs include:

The largest anticipated ICD-10-related expense by far involves increased documentation costs and disruptions in cashflow due to loss of productivity. For small practices, these expenses will account for more than 75 percent of their IDC-10 budget. Meanwhile, hospitals will end up spending about 90 percent of their budget on this. The smallest projected expense is likely to be training and education, which should only take up about 2 percent of the ICD-10 budget.

Healthcare professionals who are still using a paper-based charting system will be hit the hardest. These physicians typically spend about 20 percent of their time with a patient on documentation, and new ICD-10 requirements are expected to add 4 percent more to that time.

Providers using ICD-10-ready electronic medical record software will be able to handle the transition better, as coding assistance features will help providers select the correct code. They will still have to invest in training for coders and other staff, but productivity will not be affected like it will be for physicians using paper charts.

To learn more about how EMR software and practice management systems can help your practice prepare for ICD-10, contact us at 480-782-116.