Outsourcing ICD-10 Tasks for an Easier Transition

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The decision to outsource any of your medical practice’s operations can be a difficult one to make. Whether you’re considering customer service, information technology, healthcare collections training, or licensing services, there are many advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing. With the new ICD-10 guidelines and conversion just around the corner, now is a good time to start thinking about transferring some burdensome administrative tasks over to outside professionals with better resources.

ICD-10 is going to require a large amount of changes and training, and most practices aren’t as prepared as they should be. While implementing the new codes will surely improve quality of care and efficiency (although perhaps not in the short-term), the increase in procedure codes alone is enough to make healthcare professionals nervous. Since anything other than a smooth transition could be disastrous, it is critical for doctors to plan ahead. One way to do so is by outsourcing elements of the ICD-10 conversion to third-party professionals.

First, find out how prepared your practice is for ICD-10 and how likely it is to succeed after the transition. For this step, look to a third party. Someone who is detached from the organization will provide a clearer perspective on the roles of each employee, as well as how your practice functions as a whole. In addition, it is important to consider how the new codes will affect medical collections for both patients and providers. Patients, on the one hand, will need to worry about how ICD-10 changes will impact the amount they pay on insurance claims. Meanwhile, billing or practice managers will need to know if selecting one code over another similar one will affect payment amounts in a significant way.

Training is perhaps the most important step and one area that is best left in the hands of a third-party professional. Practice managers or billing staff must be trained on all the details of the new system, as well as nurses, doctors, and other staff members that will come into contact with diagnosis codes. Special emphasis should be given to codes that directly affect your specialty, and administrators should outline the system the practice will follow to adopt the changes. For training, providers should consider timing, as employees are likely forget information if they learn it too long before they start using it. On the other hand, if new coding processes are taught too late, trying to internalize so much information in a hurry will create confusion and lead to unnecessary mistakes.

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