Practices should start preparing for the transition to International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10), according to an article published in Medical Economics.

Noting that a recent test of professional coders achieved a 63 percent accuracy rating when submitting ICD-10 codes, Beth Thomas Hertz discusses ways to prepare for the transition, set for Oct. 10, 2014.

ICD-10 increases the specificity with which diagnoses are reported and increases the number of outpatient diagnostic codes. Practices that do not document care properly may see a reduction in reimbursement; furthermore, there is concern about whether payers will be ready, and some experts are recommending practices secure a line of credit in advance. A key step to ICD-10 readiness is appointment of a point-person to lead the transition. Next, it is important to contact software vendors to learn about the plans for upgrades, without assuming that vendors will make their systems ICD-10 compliant. Staff will need training, with many available options, including vendors, sending an experienced coder to outside training, and other local and online resources.

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“The sooner you can start testing the better, because then you can identify any issues and start fixing them or develop contingency plans if it looks like those issues won’t be fixed in time,” Shari Erickson, M.P.H., vice president of government and regulatory affairs for the American College of Physicians, said according to the Medical Economics article.