As a solo practitioner, it is imperative that your practice make the transition to ICD-10 as soon as possible. The deadline for making the switch has already passed, meaning you can be fined for not upgrading to the new coding. Fortunately, there are many other practitioners just like you who have already made the switch, and several of them have shared their tips and stories for making the transition as smooth as possible.
A practicing and board-certified solo practitioner practicing cardiology based out of Tampa, FL, Dr. Mahesh Amin, says part of his ICD-10 transition success comes from being a member of the BayCare Physician Partners; a clinically-integrated network of 1,200 doctors working in three different countries. To simplify the transition process, Dr. Amin's office uses an EHR system, which he agrees improves his ability to deliver better patient care, thanks to the programs support of ICD-10 and Meaningful Use Stage II compliance.
Dr. Amin also says that validating software upgrades is a must for a successful ICD-10 conversion. Upgrades not tested before being put into use, can lead to expensive downtime taking place while the appropriate upgrades are being implemented. Additionally, upgrades need to be performed during a period of time when workflow is at a minimum, ideally during closed business hours.
Furthermore, Dr. Amin says that all common codes need to be identified before the transition process takes place. In doing so, the newly developed common-code list can be used in conjunction with the EHR system to pinpoint areas in which clinical documentation improvement can take place; leading to the transition process being less daunting. Dr. Amin also expresses that “Population health data becomes much easier with ICD-10. The new system will help to predict which patients will have an issue and which can be managed preventatively. The detail afforded by ICD-10 will be much greater than the detail we currently have with ICD-9.”
In South Florida, there are many solo practitioners who understand the true value of training when it comes to working with the new codes. For instance PrimeHealth, a physician-owned group of independent physicians who use a global training approach to the ICD-10 transition process. Integration of clinical documentation "for each program into a single global approach, creates a synergistic effect for understanding the shared competencies required for these initiatives." No matter what the training approach, the important factor to keep in mind is that training is of the utmost value.
It's also crucial to understand that this training should come from an instructor who has gone through extensive training for the ICD-10 transition. This training should involve a facet of aspects and topics, including testing, provider training, ICD-10 transition solutions, and slew of external factors, including those related to vendor and payer topics.
No matter what niche your office is practicing within, there are a number of controlling tasks within your power that will greatly influence both the adoption and implementation of ICD-10. Without proper testing, though, you'll never have a clear indication of what is and is not working best for your practice. With proper testing, you can become a practice that delivers coordinated care rather than episodes of care that don't truly meet the needs of your patients.