ICD-10. Done!

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It’s nice to have an opportunity to say that I am proud of our delivery system. Once again, our caregivers and the entire health care team across the country delivered. Job well done. ICD-10 implementation has gone ahead with barely a glitch. It was the hard work of everyone involved that made this happen– the many hours of education, training and worrying about what will occur on October 1. No one was looking forward to this change. No one likes to have to learn a whole new system– and busily take care of patients at the same time. Will the sky be falling down?

Woody Allen said years ago: “I am not afraid of dying; I just don’t want to be there when it is happening.” Whenever a client of mine is going through an IT conversion of any sort, I am always reminded of this comment. This ICD-10 conversion felt no differently. I surely did not want to be near any hospital or physician office on October 1. This conversion process was even likened to the Y2K concerns that we had 15 years ago, and I am happy to say, this conversion also had the same uneventful, boring result.

Everyone jokes about the goofy clinical situations that we now can more definitively code (such as getting sucked into a jet engine— recurrently!) with this new system, but there is no doubt that in the long run, that more specific coding will lead to improved data gathering, and most importantly, the ability to better guide future clinical research. I truly believe that years from now, this conversion will be seen as a turning point in collecting pertinent medical information. Clinical guidelines have the opportunity to be jump-started with new and expanded data. And wait till Big Data gets a hold of this information.

Multiple stakeholders did everything they could to kick this can down the road. Everyone wanted to at least prolong the start-up date. Eventually it happened. I am reminded of the quote from Winston Churchill who said: “Americans will ultimately do the right thing…. AFTER they have exhausted all other possibilities.”. In my mind, there is no doubt that this is the right thing— and we certainly exhausted every alternative possibility to not do this.

So today’s note is brief. Thank you for doing the right thing!! Go team!!

But we are not over this conversion yet. In fact, it still remains to be seen how many downstream issues will occur. It still remains to be seen if reimbursement will be delayed or otherwise effected. Yes, there is more to come and we will hear all about it over the coming months.

But thanks everyone. Job well done. Now lets get back to taking great care of patients.

After all, time to start thinking about ICD-11 !!

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