How to get started with ICD-10 testing

Carl Natale
by Carl Natale

It may seem a bit too early to start testing your systems for ICD-10 compatibility. But when do you want to try and solve any problems that testing may reveal?

Now or next year when thousands of medical practices are trying to get their vendors to solve problems?

Start internal testing now so you can get problems solved sooner than later when vendor resources are stretched thin.

What ICD-10 testing needs to accomplish

Keep the following goals in mind:

  • Verify that medical practices can submit, receive, and process data containing ICD-10 codes.
  • Understand the impact that clearinghouse and payer policies will have on the transactions.
  • Identify and address specific problems.
  • Test various transactions with your trading partners to ensure that the ICD-10 codes can be properly transmitted and interpreted by the various systems.
  • Review test results from trading partners.
  • Correct any issues identified during testing.

How to achieve ICD-10 testing goals

It starts with an ICD-10 testing plan. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)  has collection of documents the includes an ICD-10 checklist for small providers. Or try Tyler Wallace's video of how to create an ICD-10 testing plan.

Wallace makes it as simple as possible by showing how to put together a spreadsheet to plan and track ICD-10 progress. His plan relies quite a bit on collaborating with healthcare vendors. Which reinforces the need to do this before every other medical practice starts asking about what data to test or why the ICD-10 tests are failing.

ICD-10 testing best practices

  • Use real medical records to test systems. Make sure you're testing the types of cases you will actually be treating and submitting for reimbursement.
  • Work with your healthcare payers and submit test data that reflects your case load. Don't just test scenarios that match their mappings.
  • Dual coding will help create test data that can be used.
  • Provide documentation that supports your test ICD-10 codes.

It's not everything but it's a start to making sure all the technology and work flows in a medical practice will handle ICD-10 codes.