Physician practices, hospitals and other healthcare organizations need to adequately prepare for the conversion to ICD-10 diagnostic and procedure codes from ICD-9 lest they face serious financial consequences and are slow to enjoy the long-term clinical and business benefits of using the new codes. So says McKesson Business Performance Services, a business unit of McKesson Corp., in a new white paper called "The Gathering Storm: Coding Changes Will Have a Far-Reaching Effect on Your Practice." (PDF, 272 KB)

"The good news is that while the ICD-10 transition will be disruptive in the short term, it should have a positive outcome over the longer term," McKesson says in the seven-page white paper.

The conversion, which takes effect on Oct. 1, 2014, will increase the number of diagnostic and procedure codes to 155,000 from 24,000, increasing by more than six times the number of codes used by providers to enter into a patient's medical record to describe why the patient sought care and how that patient was treated. The expansion, according to the white paper, will "…benefit the delivery of care by indicating a more precise diagnosis, and more accurately matching the payment for care to the care delivered." Other benefits include greater efficiencies in documenting care and processing claims and improved business intelligence on care delivery and operations.

In the white paper, McKesson offers up 22 recommendations and suggestions to physician practices and other healthcare providers to get ready for the switchover. The 22 recommendations and suggestions fall into five categories:

  • Project planning
  • Education for coders and physicians
  • Resource management and assessment
  • Early cut-over and support for dual coding requirements
  • Aggressive management of the revenue cycle
  • And information system management

"For provider organizations, the transition to ICD-10 will be complex and resource-intensive. Yet the benefits, including more accurate claims and improved business intelligence, should quickly become evident once the new system is in place," the white paper concludes.

ICD-10 Impact

How Will the ICD-10 Transition Affect YouUse our ICD-10 Impact Estimation Tool to calculate how converting to ICD-10 could impact your productivity and cash flow.