Updated on: March 16, 2016

Exclusive - WEDI Survey Reveals Progress, Pitfalls in ICD-10 Preparations

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Original story posted on: September 24, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Vendors, health plans, and providers nationwide are continuing to make progress preparing for the planned Oct. 1, 2015 implementation of ICD-10, but lapses in testing and a stubborn trend of smaller providers struggling to keep up remain key areas of concern, according to the results of the most recent Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) industry preparedness survey.

 

“Factors that contribute to slow industry progress include the change in compliance date, competing internal priorities, and other regulatory mandates, but in the latest survey, readiness of other entities was also identified as an important factor,” wrote Jim Daley, WEDI chairman, in a letter sent to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell this week. “It is critical to closely monitor industry progress and early testing results to gauge what might occur on Oct. 1, 2015. We strongly encourage HHS to assist in promoting future ICD-10 readiness surveys, as that should lead to increased response rates and a more comprehensive view of industry readiness.”

The most recent WEDI survey involved more than 500 respondents, the majority of which were providers.

Among vendors, approximately two-thirds of the 87 respondents reported that their ICD-10 preparation products are already available – that’s nearly twice as many affirmative responses than were recorded during the previous survey – yet more than a quarter indicated that either that their products would not be ready until 2015 or that they weren’t sure when they would be available. 

Among health plans, nearly three-quarters of the 103 respondents reported that they had completed impact assessments, and more than half reported having begun external testing activities.

Among providers, more than half of the 324 respondents reported that they have completed their impact assessments – that figure is nearly unchanged from the October 2013 WEDI survey – but approximately one-third of respondents noted that they have begun external testing (among larger providers, more than half have done so to date).

Ample overlap existed among areas of concern voiced by the three groups of respondents when asked to describe troubling obstacles.

“The top (issue) was customer readiness, selected by over half the respondents. Other top obstacles included competing priorities, other vendor readiness and availability of test data and other regulatory mandates,” an analysis of the survey responses from vendors read.

“Competing internal priorities continues to be the top obstacle,” health plans reported. “Provider readiness was also a top concern, followed by vendor readiness, other regulatory mandates and staffing in roughly equal proportions of responses.”

As for providers?

“Respondents were fairly evenly split among the choices (staffing, competing priorities, vendor readiness, IT impacts), with these obstacles listed on between two-fifths and three-fifths of each response,” the survey analysis read. “Budget concerns grew from one-fifth in the October 2013 survey to one-third in the current survey, while it previously had decreased in significance between February 2013 and October 2013. These responses continue to indicate a myriad of concerns for providers in completing their ICD-10 work and reflect increased budget concerns with the delay.”

WEDI in its analysis also noted that it plans to continue conducting readiness surveys and hosting ICD-10 forums – the most recent took place in July.

It concluded with a simple warning.

“Unless all industry segments make a dedicated effort to continue to move forward with their implementation efforts, there will be significant disruption on Oct. 1, 2015,” the survey analysis read. “Delaying compliance efforts reduces the time available for adequate testing, increasing the chances of unanticipated impacts to production. WEDI offers our support to HHS to redouble efforts to assist the industry and, in particular, small providers in moving forward.”

 

Mark Spivey

Mark Spivey is a national correspondent for ICDmonitor.com who has been writing on numerous topics facing the nation’s healthcare system (and federal oversight of it) for five years.