ICD-10 Optimism Overshadows Lack of Provider Prep
By Jim Denny
Some people always see the glass half full and aren’t too worried, despite the circumstance. Keys locked in the car? They say, “It’s such a pretty day, and now I get to enjoy the weather while I wait for the locksmith.” Favorite football team on a losing streak? They think, “Hey, maybe our season tickets will be cheaper next year!”
Within the healthcare industry, many glasses seem more than half full when it comes to ICD-10 preparation. Navicure’s latest ICD-10 readiness survey found that respondents from healthcare organizations are overwhelmingly optimistic about being ready for October 1. While 85 percent are confident they will be ready for the transition, 57 percent indicated their organization is not on track with preparations. Despite their upbeat attitudes, survey respondents did identify specific concerns they need to address in advance of the deadline.
For example, 94 percent anticipate an increase in their denial rate on October 1. Only 30 percent, however, have improved denial-management processes to help cope with this increase. In addition, 56 percent identified cash flow as their greatest concern related to ICD-10, yet a relatively small percent have improved revenue cycle processes to promote better cash flow. Over a third have improved patient collections processes, while 17 percent have improved patient price-estimation processes.
Reading these statistics, it’s easy to wonder how providers are remaining so optimistic despite the fact they’re not completely prepared. Their positive attitudes can likely be attributed to the hard work and dedication they’ve seen from physicians and staff. For instance, survey results show how much progress providers have made with end-to-end testing, an especially critical component of ICD-10 planning. A January 2015 ICD-10 survey found that 38 percent planned to participate in end-to-end testing, but only 11 percent had begun. The most recent survey revealed that 25 percent of respondents had participated in end-to-end testing, and of those, 60 percent also achieved positive results. Progress in perhaps the most challenging aspect of ICD-10 planning shows their degree of hard work and preparation in recent months.
And on another glass-half-full note, the number of providers on track with ICD-10 preparations more than doubled since the previous iteration of the survey. In January 2015, only 21 percent of respondents were on track with their readiness plan, a number that jumped to 43 percent in the most recent results. This amount of progress is promising, and providers will undoubtedly continue to use their remaining time to its fullest.
When you think about it, overwhelming provider optimism about ICD-10 isn’t all that surprising. More than other industries, healthcare requires a perpetually positive outlook. Providers not only treat challenging cases on a daily basis, but also care for an increasingly aging population with higher incidences of multiple chronic conditions. They’re tackling an array of initiatives due to health reform, from Meaningful Use requirements to value-based care. Through all of these challenges, both clinicians and staff remain dedicated to providing the best possible care for each individual patient. Nearly everyone in a provider organization, whether they’re a surgeon or a revenue cycle manager, considers their work a vocation rather than a job. This outlook, along with a healthy dose of optimism, will serve the industry well as we embark on the challenge of adapting to ICD-10.
Jim Denny is president and CEO of Atlanta-based Navicure.