Can a practice adopt ICD-10 in just a couple of weeks?

The government's decision to delay the mandatory adoption of ICD-10 does not mean that small practices should delay implementing the system among their own workforce. When the staff makes the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10, they will go from using about 13,000 codes to using 68,000, meaning that they will be documenting the experiences of patients in much greater detail. By getting a software system in place that is compatible with ICD-10 now and ensuring that the staff is well-acquainted with it before the deadline, a doctor can guarantee better care for patients through better documentation. 

Making the switch without a hitch 
Many doctors are under the impression that the implementation of ICD-10 will result in a greater workload for their staff. However, having the proper software installed now can help providers transition smoothly to a highly specific medical coding system without overwhelming the staff. It is likely that staff members will require a certain amount of feedback as they adapt to the new system, but that is to be expected when any large-scale change is undertaken. One of the benefits of beginning to document with ICD-10 now is that doctors and staff will have a chance to overcome any confusion they may have about the new system.

Scaling down a large undertaking
According to EHR Intelligence, doctors in smaller practices may be able to institute ICD-10 over the course of just a few weekends with basic software knowledge or by hiring an Information Technology professional. Larger practices, hospitals and insurance companies are faced with a huge task, but a smaller practice has the advantage in this case. Sizable hospitals and health care organizations have worked for years to implement ICD-10, and the process has been long and painstaking. Despite having fewer resources at their disposal, smaller practices can design their own templates and embed the ICD-10 or ICD-9 codes within them, then match them to the charge sheets, giving them an advantage over large practices.  

A bigger medical practice would have to deal with multiple levels of operations and employees who work in the electronic health records department. Everyone who the transitional work goes through has a different way of doing things and are tasked with different jobs and trained on their own databases with their own templates. This is an issue that a smaller practice would not have to contend with. 

Because a complete list of ICD-10 codes is not yet available, a practice may find that it cannot match each ICD-9 code to its appropriate counterpart.That is out of the hands of physicians, but by adopting ICD-10 to the greatest extent a person can now, one will encounter far fewer problems dealing with issues such as this when the deadline rolls around.