The transition to ICD-10 is going to be a big change for every practice. ICD-9 has been around probably as long as you've been doing your job, and changing old habits can be a challenge. Luckily there is still plenty of time to get your staff on track with the change as the deadline for the switch is October of 2015. Having a successful transition to ICD-10 is going to affect how quickly you're getting paid, so it's important to have the proper plan of attack in place so that you don't see a hit to your bottom line.
It's also possible that the switch to ICD-10 could affect your practice's workflow. EHR systems that have ICD-10 coding built into the software is going to be a great way to help get your staff up to speed with the changes and decrease the slowdown in your workflow. Setting up a training plan, having all your resources lined up, and a software that has your back is going to help ease the transition.
EHR Systems: 3 Things to Consider When Transitioning to ICD-10
Everyone in your office is going to have to be up to speed with ICD-10 changes. While it might be more important for certain people in your office (like your billers) to have the most knowledge, it's still good to keep everyone up-to-date. Having a training timeline in place is important because you can't have your staff taking time away from patients during the day to focus on ICD-10. It's something that will have to be done on top of their daily routine.
Utilizing online training materials is a great way to help get your staff up to speed. Your staff will be able to work the training into their own schedules and keep up with it at their own pace.
Do you use a practice management and EHR system in your practice? Is the system ready to help you make the ICD-10 transition easier, or is it only programmed for ICD-9 codes? There is a chance that you might have to purchase the latest upgrades to the system in order to keep up with the changes and keep your office running smoothly. Make sure you start the discussion with you vendor now so that you don't hit any bumps in the road. You might have to add additional staff to your team or adjust your schedule in order to keep up with your patient flow while everyone gets used to the new system. Being on top of these changes ahead of time is key to making sure you have the resources lined up to make the change.
If you're practice isn't up to par when the change rolls out your payments could take a hit while your staff catches up on learning ICD-10, so be prepared for it. The chance of errors at the beginning is going to be pretty high along with decreased productivity cause by the learning curve could both impact your bottom line. As long as your staff is putting in the hours and effort to learning the new system ahead of time, it will pay off in the long run and make things easier on everyone!