We recently conducted our third "Attitudes Towards ICD-10" survey to see how medical practices and healthcare professionals feel about the upcoming transition to ICD-10. The survey garnered a total of 1000 responses, primarily from small and medium-sized medical practices.
So where did our respondents come from? We had respondents from all 50 states, and a variety of healthcare roles. Take a look:
To start the survey, we asked respondents how they felt about the new coding standards and the proposed timeline for the transition. In both cases, the majority of respondents said they think there should be no transition to ICD-10.
Making the switch to ICD-10 will greatly improve our ability to understand medicine, but it can also introduce some serious struggles for practices while they try to maintain cash flow through the transition. The rest of the questions in the survey shed light on just why so many people are uneasy about the transition.
The majority of respondents reported that they are either highly or significantly concerned about the transition to ICD-10. The following chart illustrates how concerned they are about specific business areas:
Respondents were most concerned about claims processing, with 65.1% of respondents saying they are either "Highly" or "Significantly" concerned. Respondents also reported a high level of concern for Training/Education and Payer Testing. Both of these play a crucial role in making sure claims are accepted - practices need to be sure that their coders, billers, and providers are comfortable with the new level of specificity, and they need to confirm that their payers are ready to handle the new codes.
Next, we shifted away from their level of concern to their expectation of how ICD-10 will affect different areas of their business.
Unfortunately, responses for every area were skewed towards "negative." Respondents said expectations were most negative for their operations (70.4% reporting "very negatively" or "somewhat negatively"), then finances (69.7% reporting "very negatively" or "somewhat negatively").
Earlier, when we asked respondents about their level of concern, they flagged Training/Education as a problem area. Their responses to this next question help explain why:
When asked how confident they are that their employees will be trained by the deadline, the most common response was "Not at all confident." Only 11.4% said they're "highly confident."
Much of a practice's ability to maintain financial well-being throughout the transition relies on their staff being properly trained. Coders and billers, who can often rattle off their top 50 most common ICD-9 codes, will have to become comfortable with an entirely new (and likely longer) list of codes. For documentation, providers will have to be much more specific to give coders and billers the information they need to choose the correct codes.
If coders, billers, and providers spend the time to properly train before the deadline, it'll be a lot easier to turn around claims and keep cash flowing come October 1.
As we finished up the questionnaire, we asked respondents simply: "How confident are you that your business will be prepared for ICD-10 by October 1, 2015?"
Similar to their confidence level with respect to training, the most common answer was "Not at all confident" (30.6%). "Highly confident" came in at the bottom of the list with only 13.1%.
We think it's fair to say the level of concern for ICD-10, especially among small practices, is a little too high for comfort. We did see some small, yet positive shifts in respondents' level of concern, but there weren't any striking changes over the last three years.
We know it's tough to find the time to train and prepare for ICD-10, but every minute is worth it. Check out CMS's Road to 10 website, their "one-stop source for all things ICD-10." It's full of helpful information, including an overview of ICD-10, webcasts, and frequently asked questions. And...
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