ICD-10 Implementation: Four Critical Steps Insurers Must Take Now

Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media , August 5, 2009

Whether a health plan wants to merely comply or become an innovator, the company needs to prepare now. The North Carolina Healthcare Information and Communications Alliance, Inc., and The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange recently released a timeline for ICD-10 preparation. The groups estimate that it could take four years for providers to implement ICD-10.

Biel concurs with the assessment. "Even though we're four years away technically, the magnitude of the change is large enough that if you don't start looking at the impact now, then you won't have created a budget for 2010 to start the process," he says.

So, what can health insurers do now? Biel offers these four steps:

  1. Review your technology to understand the impacted areas and how they are embedded in your systems.

  2. Conduct an operational assessment to see the business processes that are touched by this change.

  3. Conduct a people assessment to see the people who will need training in ICD-10.

  4. Conduct a strategic assessment and figure out how your company wants to handle ICD-10 (i.e. comply, collaborate, or innovate) and review what would go into each option.

But don't wait to start this process. If your company has not already started the process to implement ICD-10, you are already behind your competitors. Get to work now.

"I believe all health plans before the 2010 budgeting cycle should have an idea of what the impact is, what their road map is to compliance, and how much they need to budget over the next three years—especially the next year," says Biel.

Les Masterson is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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