5 Strategies for Your Medical Practice to Deal with the ICD-10 Delay

April 21, 2014

Despite how you feel about the ICD-10 delay, make it work for you, not against you. Here are five planning strategies to consider.

Just when I thought I had it all figured out … delayed again. Just like being delayed at the airport, the ICD-10 delay has me wondering: What’s next?

For now, the full implication of the ICD-10 delay is uncertain and leaves many questions. While some are frustrated with the latest twist in the ICD-10 plot, some are breathing a sigh of relief. Here’s a thought, make the delay work for you not against you.

Preparation is still the name of the game. Now is the time to ensure that implementation, training, and educational efforts are on the right track. Take stock of where your practice is at in ICD-10 readiness and regroup to gain lost ground. It is not the time for sitting back.

Ideally, your ICD-10 implementation plan was in full swing. Now is the time to sit back, breathe, and look at the implementation plan again.

If you have pieces of your implementation plan that worried you, or were not where they needed to be use this additional time to regroup and refocus on these issues. Leave no stone unturned in the implementation process, use the time wisely.

Success requires careful planning. Consider these questions:


• Who lacks education?
• Who needs additional education?
• Can I build in more education through publically available sites?
• Can I use my vendor to build in more training?


• When were my software updates scheduled?  Will the delay affect that?
• Do I need to call vendors and ask how the delay will affect them?
• Can I extend my claims testing to gain further data on how claims processing will be affected?

Work flow:

• Can I use the delay to identify more work flow gaps?
• Can I use the delay to automate more processes, e.g. denials management?
• What work flow processes need further refinement?

Clinical Documentation:

• What are my key clinical documentation gaps?
• What changes can be incorporated into my superbill now?
• Can I cross reference clinical documentation for ICD-10 with quality initiatives or value-based purchasing efforts?

Financial Performance:

• How will I measure success?
• What is my current financial performance?
• What is my expected financial performance after ICD-10?
• How can I strengthen my revenue cycle now?

Whether your plane is en route, delayed, or cancelled as a result of the delay, regrouping and moving to plan B will get you out of the waiting game and on to a successful departure.

Lou Ann Wiedemann, MS, RHIA, FAHIMA, CDIP, CHDA is a senior director of HIM Professional Practice at AHIMA. E-mail her here.

©2014 American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Reprinted by permission.