ICD-10: Adjusting to the 'new normal'

October 4, 2015

The most important action you can take right now is to analyze where your productivity is suffering, and taking corrective action. These tools may help you avoid a slow down as billing staff learn a new diagnosis coding system.

As the Fall Clinical Dermatology Conference kicked off Oct. 1 in Las Vegas, the medical community saw another impactful event kick in: Revision 10 of the International Classification of Diseases, better known as ICD-10.

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In one of the Conference seminars this morning (Sunday, Oct. 4), Mark D. Kaufmann, M.D., told attendees that the switchover from ICD-9 to ICD-10, which went into effect Oct. 1, has the potential to significantly affect their practice.

“It could slow your productivity down tremendously as billing staff gets bogged down in new diagnosis coding system,” says Dr. Kaufmann, associate clinical professor in the department of dermatology at New York’s Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “After all, you’ve spent your entire career using one language, and now you have to learn a new one from scratch-it will inevitably slow everybody down.”

On the other hand, ICD-10’s impact can be minimal if physicians have an effective electronic health records (EHR) platform in place.

“By far, the easiest way to deal with the transition is to have your EHR handle all of it,” Dr. Kaufmann says. “There are some EHR vendors that will do your ICD-10 coding for you, based on how you map out your visit on a digital diagram.”

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Short of that, he adds, there are several resources that can be helpful in mitigating ICD-10’s impact on a practice.

“There are websites, such as www.icd10charts.com, for example,” Dr. Kaufmann says, “and the American Academy of Dermatology has a great product called the ICD-10 Quick-Coder that is available for download here, at no charge, to AAD members.”

“ICD-10 will have a significant impact on our day-to-day routines, which will require all of us to adjust to a ‘new normal,’ Dr. Kaufmann says. “ How we react to the early results is very important. Analyzing where your productivity is suffering, and taking corrective action, will become the most important action we take.”