Despite the best intentions, healthcare providers and their partners have fallen behind on their ICD-10 conversion implementation projects, a new report has found.
The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), a consortium of health IT stakeholders formed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, surveyed almost a thousand healthcare providers, insurers, and vendors on their ICD-10 readiness and found that many have delayed their ICD-10 projects from where they reported they wanted to be in the February 2012 survey. Readiness also varied by type of healthcare entity:
- Healthcare providers. The survey found that more than 40 percent of all healthcare providers did not know when they would complete their impact assessment and business changes, and that half did not know when external testing of ICD-10 readiness would begin.
- Health plan insurers. The survey found that half of health insurers plan to begin external testing of ICD-10 readiness by the end of the year, as compared to last year’s survey that found that all health plans had expected to begin in 2013.
- Healthcare vendors and other partners. Two-thirds report they will begin external testing before the end of the year, which is consistent with the results of last year’s survey.
“Based on the survey results, it is clear the industry is not making the amount of progress that is needed for a smooth transition,” wrote WEDI Chair Jim Daley in a letter reporting the results of the survey to HHS. “The industry is well behind the milestones suggested in the revised WEDI/NCHICA [North Carolina Healthcare Information and Communications Alliance] timeline. Factors that contributed to this slow progress include the change in compliance dates, competing internal priorities and other regulatory mandates.”
Where Should Everyone Be?
While the survey indicates that providers, insurers, and vendors will begin testing by the end of the year, the sample timeline for ICD-10 projects developed by WEDI and NCHICA recommends that by the middle of April:
- Primary healthcare vendors already should be completed with installation and testing (secondary vendors have until the end of July) healthcare providers.
- Health plans should be completed with internal testing and in the midst of external testing to be completed by July.
- Healthcare providers should be in the midst of internal testing (aiming for completion in July) and ready to begin external testing before the end of the month.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have prepared a series of tools to help providers, insurers, and vendors plan and execute ICD-10 conversion projects. More information about those tools can be found here.