icd-10With the recent announcement from AHIMA that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has confirmed to hold firm on the October 1, 2014 date for ICD-10, we look to be cleared for landing!  Despite the American Medical Association’s best efforts to convince CMS to abandon the conversion, the announcement should be viewed as a clear signal to everyone that you better have everything in place to get the job done and make touchdown on October 1, 2014.

With various studies and groups looking at how the transition will affect health information management and the entire healthcare industry, there are still a few final steps we should all take to prepare.

Make sure the Tower can Guide us In

The jumbo jet that is ICD-10, is only one of many “jumbos” on the radar – [think Computer Assisted Coding, Electronic Health Record, Meaningful Use, Accountable Care Organization initiatives, Clinical Documentation improvement, etc.].  We need to ensure we have a proper plan in place that outlines not only what Health Information Management and the coding staff needs to do but also roles and responsibilities of the rest of the revenue cycle team.  An overall plan for all involved parties is essential to making the transition without any major bumps.

Ensure the Pilots and Crew are Prepared for Landing

Our physicians are going to play the most critical role in “sticking the landing”.  They are the pilots we need providing the coding crew updates from the cockpit.  Clinical Documentation Improvement programs will need to be operating properly to ensure communication from the physicians to the coding team is accurate and appropriate.  Without proper communication in the form of CDI it’s likely to be a bumpy landing.

Know the Emergency Exits

With all the preparations we take for a proper landing, there is still a need to be ready should an emergency take place.  Securing additional coding resources for potential dips in productivity once ICD-10 is active is important.   With the expected demand of coding resources greatly outweighing the number of coders readily available, securing a plan now for where you will turn when the need arises ensures you’re ready for any unforeseen issues.

Our arrival time has been secured.  Let’s get the wheels on the ground and make ICD-10 a smooth landing!