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Is the Transition to ICD-10 a Real Success?

April 29, 2016 | 12:25 pm
Published by | Krunal Popat


There was a considerable amount of worry in the healthcare industry when the switch was made to ICD-10 on the 1st of October, 2015. However, it has been over six months since it went into effect and despite dire warnings about the new medical coding standard; the transition has not been nearly as bad as predicted. There have been a number of reasons cited for the successful transition which includes better preparation, education, and awareness of what was going to occur.

While the transition was not perfect, it was free of any major catastrophes so many people expect that the healthcare industry is out of danger. However, the transition did produce some issues that may come back to haunt those who have proclaimed it an unqualified success.

Difficulties Did Occur in the Transition

As reported by sources in the industry, there was an initial increase in claims that needed to be held back because of inaccurate coding  that were from the old ICD-9, but that cleared up by the end of October for the most part. It helped that the healthcare industry had a much longer heads-up for the changes as compared to previous updates.

However, despite things going rather smoothly, it cannot be claimed that the transition is a complete success at least to this point. This is because there is a one-year span that occurs between October 1st, 2015 and October 1st, 2016 means that there is still some evaluation left to do.

It can be said that the sky did not fall and that the healthcare industry as a whole reacted well to the changes that were made. There were no mass rejections of claims, cash flows that dried up, or chaos in the industry. In fact, it did go smoothly enough that it might be claimed that many in the industry had gone way too far in their predictions of doom.

Still, it is important to keep in mind that the medical coding services will still need to tighten up as the relaxation period draws to a close and ICD-10 becomes the law of the land. After October 1st of this year, it may be that there is a rise in the number of mistakes that makes some in the industry believe that their worst fears are being realized. A little fear can go a long way towards ensuring that the new coding system sticks and is properly followed so that confusion is minimized.

As of right now, all seems quiet and fine. However, that can change after October 1st if the changes put into place do not stick and codes revert to the previous set that will cause confusion to prevail. While the idea that the entire system will crash is arguably way too pessimistic, it can be said that the healthcare industry has yet to fully pass the time of concern. This means that practitioners will need to be diligent so that the next deadline can be passed as smoothly as possible.