Updated on: February 25, 2014

ICD-10 Pre-Conference Symposium: Moving Past the Theoretical to the Practical

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Original story posted on: February 24, 2014

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tom Ormondroyd, vice president and general manager of Precyse Learning Solutions, will offer a series of upfront and personal accounts of his observations and experiences at HIMSS 14, taking place this week in Orlando, Fla. This is the first of his daily dispatches.

On Sunday, the first official day of HIMSS 2014, I attended the all-day ICD-10 pre-conference symposium and even had the opportunity to moderate a session. The day started bright and early with a 7 a.m. networking breakfast. I was looking forward to a tall glass of OJ and eight uninterrupted hours of ICD-10 thought leadership.

After getting past the fact that my options for the most important meal of the day were cantaloupe, cantaloupe, and a bagel (no OJ in sight), I was happy to finally see ICD-10 presentations that weren’t just reformatted versions of the same slides I’ve seen for the past three years.

For the first time, I felt like all of the speakers were presenting data and specific answers. Turns out the people who say they know about ICD-10 these days actually DO know something!

Presentations included examples of data collection and analysis that is being completed, including documentation audits and analysis in order to identify the highest risk and financial analytics of the shifts in DRGs from ICD-9 to ICD-10. There are health systems now that have built financial strategies around stockpiling cash, managing cash flow, and putting staff retention programs in place. Also, case studies were presented detailing rollouts of education with significant adoption successes and practical best practices.

So, needless to say, it is good news. People are getting serious about ICD-10. We are moving past the theoretical to the practical. In a space where there has been a lot of noise, we are finally getting a clear message from subject matter experts who are actually experts. It’s no longer a guessing game, where facilities are feeling their way through. The ICD-10 pre-conference symposium showed examples of hospitals creating actual plans and those plans being enacted with positive results.

Throughout the daylong session, we heard from actual providers in the midst of their ICD-10 rollouts, and a few commonalities were apparent. Facilities have a bigger awareness and focus on the value of data and training. Also, they seem to have a good grasp of educating the coders and are now moving to a very important “phase two”: educating the providers.

The struggle with provider education is how to enact it and ensure it is utilized. It’s similar to when you’re getting bullied in school. How do you protect yourself? You grow to be bigger and stronger than the bully. Or, if you don’t have time for a Rocky montage, you have your older, bigger, scarier brother stand behind you. It’s the same with provider education. It’s essential to have someone with a reputation—clinical leadership buy-in—who can be an advocate for the process. The buy-in of clinical leadership (CMO, CMIO, physician champion, etc.) is crucial to success.

Another central theme of the symposium was documentation. More people were talking about documentation and Clinical Documentation Improvement, not just coding. The mindset has moved past just improving documentation to more specific thinking and action plans about how to focus on each improvement area. Where three years ago there was a broad brushstroke of just needing better documentation, providers now want to know, in real time, how to identify areas for weak documentation.

Overall, the session was a huge success. Not just because lunch was a giant improvement over breakfast (still no OJ), but because I was actually given multiple choices. I always dread speaking right before lunch; not just because people are ready for a break, but also because by the time I am finished speaking, usually all of the good sandwiches are gone and I’m stuck with the lukewarm, soggy portabella mushroom wrap.

The ICD-10 pre-conference symposium was a worthwhile session and makes me feel more positive about the “state of the union” leading up to October 1.

We still have a way to go, but have made leaps and bounds compared to where we were at HIMSS last year.

About the Author

Thomas Ormondroyd, BS, MBA, is vice president and general manager of Precyse Learning Solutions. He oversees Precyse University (www.precyseuniversity.com), an online learning system and program built to deliver education to prepare healthcare professionals for the challenges of today and tomorrow.

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