Cool is Great, but ICD-10 Is About Payment

Posted on May 8, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I got the following email from a practice manager:

But here is a monster of a question for EMR/EHRs: In 510 days, ICD-10 and its 70,000 plus codes (as opposed to ICD-9’s 14,000 codes) will be on the necks of providers. How will the software handle that? It will have to keep both sets available, because old claims will still be under that system, and may even have to provide a “translator” function from one to the other. Not just a crosswalk, a decision rubric.

This is how the money gets made, and everyone wants to be paid. Cool may be awesome, but payment…well, that’s serious.

As my programmer daughter says, this is what computers do best, but a human has to program it to do that.

This comment is a really interesting one and reminds me of the hospital administrator I was with recently who talked about being overwhelmed with the administrative. ICD-10 is an example of the administrative that can be overwhelming and could have serious financial consequences if not dealt with appropriately.

Plus, the above comment highlights how many practices will be at the mercy of the EHR and other software programmers when it comes to ICD-10. I agree that ICD-10 won’t be an issue for many as long as the programmer does a good job implementing it. In fact, this is why the concept of dual coding ICD-10 is so important. However, as the linked article discusses, that’s not likely an option for a smaller clinic.

Either way, I’m interested in the core idea of being distracted by the shiny things so we miss out on the serious ones.