Editor’s Note: The following article is the third and final installment of a three-part series on ICD-10 readiness. The series aims to help healthcare providers ensure that their vendor partners are fully prepared to comply with the implementation timeline and requirements around ICD-10 conversion.
Part III: Testing Phase, Go-Live, and Evaluation
Next fall, healthcare providers will be required to migrate from ICD-9 to ICD-10. By now you are deep into planning your conversion. But will your vendor partners be ready?
In Part I of this series we examined how your vendor community should be engaged during the Preliminary and Assessment phases of your ICD-10 Migration Project. In Part II, we looked at their role in the Design and Implementation phases. In this final installment, we examine the role of vendor partners in the Testing, Go-Live, and Evaluation phases.
Once your new systems are in place and your new business processes worked out, you will create scenarios to test them. When creating testing scripts, it is again important to follow the workflow from beginning to end, including any areas of integration with third parties.
Because your partners will be implementing their ICD-10 conversion on their own timetable, our suggestion is that testing involving any third party be considered its own set of tasks, separate from internal testing. Expect that there will be some give and take with regard to schedules, but in general, your vendor partners will work to accommodate you.
Go-Live and Beyond
Once your systems and business processes have been tested and your colleagues trained, the time has come to “flip the switch” and complete the conversion to ICD-10.
If your project is like most, there will be bumps in the road. Despite all your precautions and contingency plans, expect that something will go wrong.
When you schedule your Go-Live, be sure to consider two key points. Make certain that it is scheduled at a time that will cause the least impact to stakeholders. And after you select the date, communicate with all stakeholders what will be expected of them and what they can reasonably expect. This is especially true for your vendor partners.
It is normal after Go-Live for the project committee to disband and move to the next project. But before closing the books, it is always a good idea to take a step back and evaluate the project, looking at what went right, what went wrong, and what could have been done better.
The same self-examination should be extended to your partners. Did they communicate well during the project and were they forthcoming about their readiness? Did any issues arise that could have been forestalled, and if so, should future partner agreements contain language related to their respective performance for projects in the future (because one thing we all know, there will be future projects)?
By engaging your partners from the beginning of a project to Go-Live and beyond, you can reduce any issues and minimize any potential negative impacts. It will enable you to keep the maximum control of your project and be a major factor in determining its success.
Chuck Seviour has over 40 years of healthcare industry experience ranging from Director of Business Office Operations for a large health system to consulting with over 150 hospitals as a healthcare consultant for a major accounting firm. Chuck has been Vice President of Revenue Cycle for Array Services Group since 2004.