The reaction by the physician community is to be expected: "There will be much rejoicing..." said Robert S. Gold, MD, CEO of DCBA, Inc., in Atlanta. He believes that the physicians lack the tools they need for the transition. "If a tool were there that spoke clinical language and was available as an app on a smart phone or a tablet and would intercommunicate with the hospital and the physicians' offices, there would be no problem in meeting the existing deadline. Without this, it's dead in the water."
Meanwhile, as Kennedy explained, the rest of the world is already using ICD-10 and will likely transition to ICD-11 soon, while the United States is still using ICD-9. "Change is necessary if we are to develop a robust database of our patients' illnesses and treatments as to better measure outcomes and efficiency. While ICD-10 is not perfect—nothing is—we should not let the need for perfection be the enemy of the common good. Procrastination is not the solution," he said.
Jennifer Avery, CCS, CPC-H, CPC, CPC-I, regulatory specialist for HCPro, Inc, agreed. "I think it would be a tragedy to delay the process any further because we are so far behind the ball now that it is going to be even more difficult playing catch up." She too noted that until the move to ICD-10 is complete, there will be ongoing problems because the ICD-9 system is insufficient. "ICD-9 codes just don't work when it comes to reporting our diagnoses and procedures [for inpatients] and we need the added specificity," she says.