ICD-10 Readiness: 15 Questions to Ask Your Health IT Vendors

March 14, 2014

Your EHR and practice management system vendors are important partners in the ICD-10 transition, so be sure they are ready with these 15 questions.

Is your practice ready for the transition to ICD-10 on Oct. 1, 2014? More importantly, are your EHR and practice management system vendors ready?

If they are telling you "yes," how do you really know if they are ready or not? What does "yes" really mean?

Have they shared any ICD-10 development plans and product release dates with you yet?

Have they shown you what ICD-10 looks like and how it will work in their EHR and practice management software?

Your EHR and practice management system vendors are probably the most important vendors in the ICD-9 to ICD-10 transition, along with clearinghouses and payers, because they all can positively or negatively impact the cash flow of your practice.

Are you willing to risk your practice’s reputation and cash flow on a simple "yes" answer without getting "yes" defined? This is critically important. Believe it or not, ICD-10 is not that complicated; that is if you are prepared. It’s all about proper documentation and coding so your practice can get paid accurately and promptly.

So what should you do? How do you know that your current EHR and practice management system vendors are really ready for the big transition? And what are they going to do to ensure that your practice is ready before the deadline?

Here is a list of 15 questions to ask your EHR and practice management system vendors regarding their ICD-10 readiness.

1. What date will your EHR and practice management solutions include ICD-10 coding for me to test?

2. Will both your EHR and practice management system solutions be able to support ICD-10?

3. When will you be able to show me how ICD-10 will work in my EHR and practice management  solutions?

4. Is your software going to run on the same platform and database that we are currently using or is a new one going to be used?

5. Am I going to be able to use the same templates and content that I currently have or will I need to re-customize them all for the new ICD-10 compliant software?

6. When can I begin testing your ICD-10-compliant EHR and practice management systems?

7. When will your ICD-10-compliant EHR and practice management system be released to me?

8. Will your EHR and practice management systems support both ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes?

9. Will I be able to search for ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes in your ICD-10 compliant systems?

10. Will you help me test my ICD-10 compliant EHR and practice management system with my payers?

11. How much will you charge to upgrade to the new ICD-10-compliant solution?

12. Will I need new hardware to accommodate your ICD-10 upgrade?

13. What tools, training, and support will you provide to me and my staff so we can prepare our practice for ICD-10?

14. Will support for my current products be discontinued after Oct. 1, 2014?

15. Do you know when most payers will begin accepting ICD-10 codes for pre-authorizations for dates of service that will take place after Oct. 1, 2014?

If you have not already done so, you should contact your EHR and practice management system vendors and get "yes" defined. If they do not respond in a timely manner or if the responses you receive back are vague, then they are simply not prepared.

You will need to decide if you want to wait on them to get ready, putting your practice’s reputation and cash flow at risk, or if now is the time to find other EHR and practice management system vendors that are completely transparent about their ICD-10 readiness and more importantly, prepared to help your practice through a successful transition to ICD-10.

Samuel S. Ambroseis the former chief marketing officer and vice president of sales for Pulse Systems, providers of electronic healthcare management solutions for physicians. E-mail him here.