Three of the many ways ICD-10 will permeate your health IT

Carl Natale
by Carl Natale

Put simply: ICD-10 will impact every piece of a healthcare organization that currently generates or brushes up against ICD-9 codes.

That's the overarching message in a white paper 3M Health Information Systems made freely available and touted when it announced new ICD-10 tools geared for coders. As is typically the case, this document is largely a sales pitch for 3M's products and ICD-10 expertise -- but it does outline how ICD-10 will affect major systems and processes within a hospital and that section is worth detailing for the ICD10Watch audience.

These categories include, among several others, three particularly relevant to readers: health information management systems and processes, data warehousing, and IT.

Health information management.
3M points to HIM and patient financial systems as the most challenging to update for ICD-10 as providers are largely reliant on software vendors to issue updates, and many of them are currently running late with those deliverables. ICD-10's upside to HIM? “Under ICD-10, HIM coded data will be more valuable to use, well beyond the patient's discharge, in trending and clinical research,” 3M's paper explains. HIM staff, of course, must begin by becoming proficient in ICD-10, leading physician documentation efforts, and instituting a documentation improvement process.

Data warehousing. This is key in the overall ICD-10 strategy, and particularly when establishing policies about long-term trending, tracking, and analysis, as just about any department can query them, spanning administration, decision support, finance, quality improvement and quality management. Organizations will need to map out an analysis strategy for historical ICD-9 data alongside ICD-10 codes once compliance day comes. That means making sure your data is in appropriate formats to enable comparisons, as well as translating applications ahead of the implementation date, 3M wrote.

IT. Although the IT department is bound to be heavily involved with both HIM and data warehousing projects, in an even broader sense IT will be called upon to create and support the ICD-10 infrastructure beneath the overall strategy, 3M notes. In addition to upgrading vendor and proprietary software, the IT staff "must optimize the integration of ICD-10 detail into clinical, financial, and operations systems across the enterprise." Doubtless, the ICD-10 conversion will prove "challenging and time-consuming" for IT.

Those are just the three ways ICD-10 will impact healthcare organizations. Others facets include: scheduling, admission, and case/utilization management for inpatient care; physician documentation and impact on quality improvement; case management and patient study; payer integration; finance; labs, radiology, and other ancillary services; transcription; as well as performance and quality management.

3M addresses each of those in the white paper, titled ICD-10 conversion: What you need to know for a successful transition, available as a free PDF.

"It may not seem like it, but the conversion to ICD-10 is an opportunity for you to improve the way systems function, how staffs communicate and interact, and ultimately how well healthcare professionals provide care to patients in your hospital," 3M explained.