AMA says technology won’t be ready for ICD-10

In case you missed it, the AMA Wire reported earlier this month that healthcare technology won’t be ready for the ICD-10 deadline on Oct. 1.

Tara Courtland

Communications Director Tara Courtland

“While physicians will need upgrades to their software systems to accommodate the new code set, many physicians may not receive them until well into 2014,” the article states. “At the same time, all physicians who will be participating in the electronic health record (EHR) meaningful use program will need to upgrade to Version 2014 certified software.”

With the deadline looming and IT departments already stretched to the limit, the technology upgrades appear to be the primary (although clearly not the only) obstacle to compliance for many providers.

What’s to be done? Individual providers and healthcare groups are pursuing two different tactics simultaneously.

First, on an organizational level, the nonprofit Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange recently sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urging more testing of ICD-10 code sets.

Second, individual providers are turning more and more to interface vendors to help relieve pressure on their internal IT departments. These third-party vendors, such as NEMT, create custom interfaces between healthcare providers and ICD-10 vendors, freeing up the provider’s IT staff for other priorities.

While the AMA is still actively trying to halt implementation of ICD-10, it is also urging its members to keep moving toward compliance.

So what’s the bottom line? It’s not enough to cross your fingers — take steps to be prepared.

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About Tara Courtland

Tara Courtland is the communications director at NEMT.
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