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ICD-10 strategies: Lead a successful change with strong governance

ICD-10 is the largest mandate in U.S. healthcare history, and it will require diligent, comprehensive actions to be fully prepared for the transition. This is the second post in a four-part series that explores successful strategies in key areas of ICD-10 readiness: general approach, governance, education and standardization of documentation.

For a project as vast and complex as ICD-10, a successful organization needs a strong governance structure assigned specifically to this endeavor.

Setting up the governance structure

Leadership needs to define the operational structure required for ICD-10 readiness. It’s essential to have an ICD-10 executive sponsor and an ICD-10 “Czar” responsible for maintaining the project on a steady and consistent path. Once leadership designates these roles, they need to communicate them throughout the organization.

The next step is to establish an operational committee with representation from the key areas affected by ICD-10 (i.e., HIM, Coding, Billing, Finance, IT, Education, Nursing, Medical staff). This committee’s charter defines its roles and responsibilities. It should also provide specific guidelines, such as weekly meetings, a defined agenda and a mechanism for apprising the C-suite of both current state and meeting upcoming milestones. Leadership should empower this committee to recommend changes to the project’s overall structure and advise course corrections.

Communicating ICD-10 as a top priority

With governance structure now in place, effective communication provides the underpinning for a project of this size and importance. From the beginning, leadership must show its involvement and dedication to a successful transition to ICD-10 by informing everyone that this is top organizational priority. The organization can use various channels, such as meetings, newsletters, and yes, even an ICD-10 blog that speaks to the project’s goals, objectives, milestones and successes.

Assigning sufficient resources

The organizations we work with soon come to realize that a project such as ICD-10 readiness relies heavily on having sufficient resources available. For ICD-10, this means people, money and perhaps the most important – time.

Staff will require training, and this means identifying trainers not only for those who provide care, but for billers and coders. It means budgeting the dollars both for these resources and for upgrades and modifications to your existing IT systems so that ICD-10 can successfully operate within your environment.

But beyond this, leadership must realize that a project as important as ICD-10 will require time – time for education and training, time to ensure that the work proceeds as anticipated, and time for those overseeing this work to make certain it is being done effectively and efficiently.

The three pillars of ICD-10 success

Governance is but one of the three pillars of ICD-10. Education and documentation have equally important roles. ICD-10 is moving from 13,000 to 68,000 codes (and this does not include procedures). Clinicians need to understand the depth of clinical information they need to provide in order to justify which is the right code to select.

Our next blog will discuss the key issues surrounding how to educate staff on documenting for ICD-10. It may appear to be a daunting task, but with the right approach, it can benefit the patient, the physician and the organization.

If you’d like to learn more about how Allscripts can help you prepare your revenue cycle for ICD-10 and beyond, contact us.

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