Health IT Pulse

Feb 21 2011   8:08AM GMT

ICD-10 conversion impacts meaningful use for HIMSS 2011 attendees

JeanD Profile: JeanD

HIMSS 2011
ICD-10 conversion
Meaningful use

Orlando Health is well on its way to integrating electronic health records (EHRs) in both its inpatient and outpatient settings, and to meeting meaningful use incentives by the end of this year. The pending conversion to a new classification of clinical codes, however, has the system rethinking all its operations.

From IT systems to communications, the coding system — the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, better known as the ICD-10 conversion — affects everything Orlando Health does, especially its rollout of EHRs and how it will meet criteria under the federal meaningful use incentive program, according to Alexander Veletsos, the system’s chief technology officer. Under federal mandates, providers must be prepared to switch to the ICD-10 codes, which are used for everything from diagnosing patients and bill collection to conducting clinical research, by Oct. 1, 2013.

ICD-10 is a key issue at this year’s Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s 2011 Annual Conference and Exhibition, held in Orlando, Fla. The transition should be in the forefront of providers’ and vendors’ mind, considering the impact it will have on all hospitals, Orlando Health executives said.

“Right smack in the middle of all this, we have the ICD-10 conversion,” Veletsos said during a news conference at the CIO Forum, held by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives during the HIMSS 2011 show. “As we’re assessing this, we are in fact changing things to meet meaningful use requirements.”

Orlando Health has created a 23-member project steering committee to address the ICD-10 conversion. The committee is scrutinizing how the implementation affects:

  • IT systems and applications.
  • Policies and business processes.
  • Education and training.
  • Communication management across its hospitals and physician practices.

The system expects to require changes to some 72 IT products in its various care settings as a result of the transition. Orlando Health is assessing software, database, interfaces, reporting and testing needs. In addition, coders, physicians, clinicians and other data users will have to be educated on how the new codes affect their workflow.

The change is not about IT; it’s about improving quality of care for patients and creating operational efficiencies — and providers who have yet to begin the conversion process need to understand that, Veletsos said. Without an organizationwide focus, attempts to convert to the ICD-10 system will not be successful. “They need to be business initiatives.”

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