ICD-10, slated for release in October 2014, has been pushed back another year to October 2015. While that comes as a surprise to some, it comes as an unusual benefit for others, who would not have been ready.  However, immediately after the sigh of relief, it is best practice to get started on taking strategic steps towards making your organization ICD-10 compliant.

On the contrary, many medical clinics and hospitals now understand the planning and implementation involved for ICD-10. This coupled with the meaningful use development and planning makes for a number of quite complex changes from the ground up. This is why it’s important to push even harder, rather than easing the tempo of HIM operations.

Here are three of the reasons to begin now:

Complexity. Meaningful use and ICD-10 are both colossal projects, and executing both simultaneously is ambitious, to say the least. Use this time wisely, and ensure that you use proper time-management to effectively plan both, as 2014 is the first year for Stage 2 compliance in meaningful use as well. Furthermore, the delay in ICD allows businesses to invest more, spreading the HIM/IT budget out across a longer space of time. This has been a source of tension and difficulty with many organizations as they wrestled with the question: is it better to deal with the penalties or budget shortfalls?

Time. Before the delay was announced, more than half of those medical operations polled (in Jan 2014) either had not begun or had just begun ICD-10 steps. It therefore stands to reason that many companies are not aware of the lengthy process, and how long the transition will take. For larger facilities or networks, a year or more of planning and execution certainly isn’t out of the question.

Compliance. The HHS has stated on several occasions that ICD-10 will not delay again under any circumstances.  However, ICD-9 is projected to retire at the end of 2014, with only a three month transition period. Hence, failure to implement prior to Dec 31, 2015 at the very latest will adversely affect the operations of hospitals and clinics. This does not mean that an operation has another 6 months to begin; rather, it means the time to begin has already passed.

Regardless of where you are, we can help. At MedPartners HIM, our talent pool and professional network is over 500 people strong, and we have an incredibly wide array of service options. Contact us today for an initial consultation to see how we can help your business get ready for ICD-10.