Computer experts around the world feared that a programming shortcut that allowed only two digits to denote years would crash computers when 1999 turned to 2000. Security specialists painted such a dire picture that many panicked. Newscasts reported people withdrawing cash and filling their gas tanks in preparation for the machines failing in the new year. Fortunately, those mass disruptions never came to pass.
For some healthcare practitioners, the October 1, 2015, deadline for the ICD-10 rollover created a Y2K-level of apprehension. Many feared that adopting the new codes would be overwhelmingly time consuming and introduce coding errors that would disrupt revenue for months. Staff at small practices with limited IT support worried that the effort to convert to the new system would cripple their efforts to provide patient care. Some doctor’s groups were so worried that delays in payment would limit their cash flow that they arranged to use personal funds or take out bank loans to cover expenses.
Over a month into the ICD-10 implementation, the healthcare reimbursement system has not ground to a halt. While the conversion certainly has involved extensive effort and some glitches, no evidence exists that it has had cataclysmic effects. “Take a deep breath. We are still here,” said an October 2 Healthcare Finance News article. Predictions of grim consequences have, thankfully, been wrong.
For ClinicTracker users, the conversion unfolded without any significant difficulties at all. That’s likely because our developers updated the system to accept ICD-10 codes almost two years ahead of schedule. That gave all involved plenty of time to learn the new coding system and test the update. The software seamlessly transitioned customers to the new codes (both ICD-10 and DSM 5). Users simply enter diagnoses through a Diagnosis Assignment form they can access throughout the patient record. Simultaneously, ClinicTracker updated various state integrations (e.g., Illinois, Oregon, and Washington) to support the October 1 changeover. All these modifications were implemented, verified, and available well before the deadline. None of our customers have received any rejections due to ICD-10 transition-related software glitches.
Here’s one update from a customer: “I wanted to let you know I sent an electronic claim file for Medicaid today for date of service 10/01/15 and it looks good. Thanks for making sure the switchover to ICD-10 went so smoothly.”
That’s our goal: smooth, intuitive changes that make easy work of tracking patients’ records and billing history. ClinicTracker can adapt its intuitive interface to integrate any federal and state-specific requirements.
ClinicTracker was ready for this change in December 2013, and our preparation paid off. The next few months will reveal the longer-term results of the ICD-10 implementation. Other coding changes, such as the mandatory quality reporting measure set to begin in 2017, will continue to challenge healthcare practitioners. As always, ClinicTracker will work steadily to keep ahead of new mandate deadlines so changes won’t slow you down.