News Feature | January 21, 2015

Providers Fear ICD-10

Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

Experts at AHIMA say ICD-10 deadline fears could be a contributing factor to physicians’ reluctance to perform testing.

Usually, providers cite financial reasons, time constraints, and limited staff when explaining their reluctance to adopt ICD-10. Now, an AHIMA report published by Perspectives in Health Information Management indicates that - put simply - fear is a factor as well.

The top concerns cited by the physicians participating in the AHIMA focus groups were

  • electronic health record software readiness
  • increase in documentation specificity and time
  • ability of healthcare professionals to learn a new language
  • inadequacy of current training methods and content

EHR Intelligence reports many of these physicians “expressed straight-up fear about how the new codes will impact their practices.”

The changes to workflow and documentation are causing providers to be less than enthusiastic when it’s time to prepare for the change. According to Perspectives, the blame is being placed on lack of education and training and many physicians are waiting for trial and error after implementation to work out the kinks. Others are depending on HIM professionals and their EHR vendors to do the brunt of the work during the transition.

“The physicians that we spoke with indicated that the simplistic, specialty-focused, positive approach for learning the ICD-10-CM/PCS system is not what they have been exposed to yet. If the ICD-10-CM/PCS implementation is going to work for everyone involved,” explained AHIMA.

One doctor said, “I have not done anything except read an article or two about how codes are going to increase in ICD-10. I am relying on my billing service to do that. With respect to the hospital, they have not really given us any formal training for ICD-10 at all.”

“Physicians typically don’t want to spend very much time on training for things like this,” added another doctor. “It’s hard to engage them, so finding a set of materials that they will respond to positively would be valuable.”