ICD-10 readiness: Worse than expected


If you're relieved by the ICD-10 delay, you're not alone. Your colleagues are behind-really behind-according to a recent industry survey.

If you’re relieved that the compliance date for ICD-10 might be delayed for your practice, you’re not alone.

Survey results released by the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) on March 19 reveal that much of the industry would not be ready by the original October 1, 2013, compliance date.

February 16, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen G. Sebelius announced that HHS would postpone the date by which “certain healthcare entities” needed to file claims using ICD-10. Since then, HHS has not announced a new date, indicating that the entities will receive more time.

Since 2009, WEDI has conducted ICD-10 readiness surveys to measure the industry compliance progress. The organization also acts as an adviser to HHS regarding health data policy issues, according to representatives.

WEDI’s assessment of industry readiness is derived from survey responses collected from more than 2,600 providers, health plans, and vendors in February. Based on the premise that impact assessments should have been completed in 2011 and other key milestones, survey results show evidence that the industry is falling behind with ICD-10 compliance.

Significant findings from the survey:

Nearly half of the provider respondents indicated that they did not know when they would complete their impact assessments.

Although one-third of providers expected to begin external testing in 2013, another half responded that they did not know when testing would occur.

Most health plans do not expect to begin external testing until 2013.

More than one-third of health plans have completed their assessment, but another quarter of respondents say they are less than halfway through.

About one-half of vendors are less than halfway complete with product development.

In a related article, health information technology experts and leaders from the Mayo Clinic, Intermountain Healthcare, Geisinger Health System, Kaiser Permanente, and Harvard Medical School advocated a 1- to 3-year postponement to give hospitals and practices time to prepare for ICD-11, according to the commentary posted March 21 on the Health Affairs Web site.

With medical practices now adjusting to the meaningful use of electronic health records, “simultaneously requiring the full adoption of ICD-10-CM imposes an unsustainable burden on many,” they wrote.

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