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ICD-10 – so what are the ideal timelines?

Is there too less time for ICD-10 transition? Or is there plenty of time? Will my vendor ensure that we’re compliant, or should we engage a consultant to do a thorough gap assessment? These are questions that should be and probably are on every program manager’s mind that’s been entrusted with the ICD-10 implementation in his organization.

ICD-10 transition is not straightforward at all. Through the years, complex processing logic has been built that depends on ICD codes and other codes that are derived from ICD codes.  Without a deep dive, it’s difficult to project the scale of impact, and the effort and time required to remediate the impact. And you don’t have the ICD-8 to ICD-9 transition experience to leverage here (which you have in case of HIPAA 4010). Moreover, given the difference in usage and implementation, experience from ICD-10 implementation in other countries can help to a very limited extent.

Being conservative is your best bet. When there are too many unknowns, it is common sense to build as much margin into your timelines as you can – which means that you should set the ball rolling immediately. Once you’ve done a detailed assessment, you’ll know the scale of the impact better – you can then slow down or speed up your implementation. Making that call based on knowledge of things at 25K feet level is a huge mistake.

It’s amazing that some that pushed back on the initial compliance date as too aggressive are sitting on things, now that the date has been pushed out. It is wishful thinking that the date will be pushed out further. And the argument that any work done now will become throwaway if the compliance date is pushed out or if the legislation is modified holds no water either.

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