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Getting Ready for ICD-10: Is Your Technology on Track?

April 5, 2013

The transition to ICD-10 requires everyone in the health care industry to assess their technology and ensure they have technical systems capable of utilizing ICD-10 codes. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has mandated that everyone covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) must transition from ICD-9 code sets and adopt ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes and ICD-10-PCS procedure codes on Oct. 1, 2014.

In last month's Blue Review, we offered questions and resources to help you assess the preparedness of your staff to transition to ICD-10. It is also important to consider the IT requirements of ICD-10, and whether your IT staff and infrastructure are sufficient to meet the deadline for compliance. You may need to select new software vendors, upgrade hardware and/or find a consulting resource with expertise in ICD-10.

This month, we offer some important topics to discuss with your IT staff and software, billing service and clearinghouse vendors, if applicable, as you plan your transition.

Will your vendors be ready when you are?

It is critical that providers work with their technology vendors to ensure a common understanding of transition timelines. Knowing if and when your vendor will be ready to support ICD-10 is the first step in assessing your technology needs. If your vendor isn't sure they will be ready or able to support the transition, it’s time to find a different vendor.

As you read in last month's Blue Review, staff training for coders and others involved in the use of ICD-10 codes is significant and requires an early start to be effective. Ask your technology vendors to provide the details on the training support included with any new software or hardware changes prior to implementation, testing and post-transition. Keep in mind, many practices may need additional support after October 1, 2014, as the industry adjusts to a more comprehensive and complicated code set.

Ensuring your vendor’s technology solutions will fit your testing timeline is also crucial. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recommends providers begin external testing by fall of 2013. Ask if your vendor will be ready to support you when you begin external testing.

What will it cost?

If your current or new vendors can meet your technology needs for ICD-10, the next important factor is cost. Consider the following possible questions:

  • Does your current vendor agreement include support for ICD-10?
  • Can your current system be upgraded to support ICD-10? If so, when?
  • Will you require hardware upgrades? Are hardware upgrades included in your existing contract?
  • Is testing included in the cost of new hardware and/or software?
  • What kind of support and training is included?
  • Will there be post-implementation support?
  • What mapping or cross-walking strategies will be used? When can you start testing these strategies?
  • Will support for simultaneous ICD-9 and ICD-10 coding be included?

BCBSOK Resources for ICD-10 Planning

Visit the ICD-10 page in the Standards and Requirements section of our Provider website for information to help you create, execute and test your transition plan.

Our webinars are a great interactive resource as well. This month, we feature webinars hosted by BCBSOK with experts from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Sign up today.