The Pros and Cons of the ICD-10 Delay

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The Pros and Cons of the ICD-10 Delay

April 14, 2014 · Posted by Lee F.

Recently, Congress voted to further postpone the deadline for ICD-10 conversion from October, 2014 to an unknown future date. Before the vote, the impending deadline provided business opportunities for a number of our clients, and PointClear became well-versed in the ins and outs of going from a system of 13,000 procedure codes to nearly 70,000 codes.

After the vote, I started to wonder: is the delay good or bad for our clients’ business that center on the conversion? This morning, I heard a story on NPR that brought up some benefits as well as drawbacks to the conversion that I had been unaware of.

For example:

 Delaying the conversion means that we continue to rely on a set of codes that is nearly 40 years old, and outdated in terms of powerful data analytics we’ve come to rely on. The NPR story mentioned that, using ICD-9, cardiologists can’t differentiate via code between the numerous implants they use to open clogged arteries. Therefore, there’s no way to use the data to determine which method has the best outcomes. The data is meaningless when it comes to improving quality of care.

 However, physicians have been dealing with a lot, and I mean a lot, of changes over the past few years. I’m talking about changes to the way they practice, to clinician workflow, to how they’re reimbursed, to the electronic health records and other tools they use, and to the definition of providing good care. ICD-10 represents another change, and a costly one. Many physicians are relieved about the delay.

But what about businesses who have built their business model around the urgency of the conversion? What about healthcare information technology clients like ours who have created tools to assist in making a smooth conversion from ICD-9 to ICD-10, like Navicure’s ICD-10 Analyzer? What about the start-up that focused on the conversion as a key driver for adoption of their medical coding marketplace? What about the client who thought they missed the boat, but now have a second chance to get into the fray and contribute something meaningful to the provider community?

I don’t have all the answers yet, but I’m learning that for some, the delay means ICD-10 takes a back burner to more pressing priorities. For others, there’s now a chance to create something that before seemed to be “too late to the party.”

Has the conversion impacted you? If so, did it squelch your plans or provide you with new opportunities?

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