Survey: Half of Physician Practices Won’t Start Preparing for ICD-10 Until May

Tony Berberabe, MPH
Published Online: Monday, February 3, 2014
Talk about playing with fire.

A survey about physician practice readiness for the upcoming ICD-10 deadline suggests that half will only start preparing in May 2014 for the transition. Practices are also placing a lot of faith in their vendors and their vendors’ abilities to ease the transition, despite a lack of communication on updates and timing from their vendors, according to key findings of the “Physician Practice ICD-10 Readiness Survey Part 2,” issued by Navicure, a medical claims clearinghouse.

In the fourth quarter of 2013, Navicure commissioned Porter Research to conduct a national survey of physician practices to gauge their preparation for the ICD-10 transition. This was a follow-up to a similar survey conducted in April 2013. The purpose of the second survey was to understand whether physician practices had changed their attitudes or actions related to ICD-10 since the first survey.

Results from the second survey revealed a high degree of optimism toward being prepared for ICD-10. This is ironic given providers’ general lack of preparation thus far. For example, 74% of respondents have not begun implementing their transition plan, yet most are confident they will be prepared by the October 1, 2014, deadline. The overwhelming majority (87%) is somewhat confident, confident, or very confident they will be prepared. Only 9% are not confident they will be prepared.

Even though industry experts advise practices to anticipate a decline in productivity based on ICD-10 complexity, dissimilarity and divergence from ICD-9, and analysis of rollouts in other developed countries, respondents are relatively optimistic about the impact of ICD-10 on practice operations. While almost two-thirds expect interruptions to cash flow, far fewer anticipate that productivity losses will have a similar impact on revenue. 

When pressed for a reason that the practice has not started preparing for the move to ICD-10, almost one-third (32%) continue to believe that they have more time to prepare. This is down slightly from the spring survey, which indicated that 36% believed that they had more time to prepare.

More disconcerting is that more than one-fourth (27%) still do not know where to start their preparations, an increase since the spring (22%). Another quarter claims that they do not have the time, staff, or resources to begin preparing.

Two-thirds of survey participants were practice administrators or billing managers, a slight increase from the first survey (61%). The number of practice executives who participated in the second survey was also slightly higher, up to 12% from 7%. These increases were offset by a lower share of billers and coders that participated (11% vs.21%). Survey respondents represented a broad range of specialties and sizes, with the majority (60%) coming from practices with one to 10 providers.

Navicure says it’s not too late to catch up, but practices need to begin preparing now. They offer 8 steps for getting started and staying on track throughout the transition:
  1. Build a team and a plan
  2. Develop a budget
  3. Review documentation
  4. Perform a gap analysis
  5. Update technology
  6. Generate support and commitment
  7. Provide targeted education and training
  8. Test and monitor success

Source:
Navicure. “Physician practice ICD-10 readiness survey part two: Survey findings and action items.” January 2014.
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