Physicians excel at thinking analytically – that is, using a step-by-step clinical decision-making process to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. This logical way of thinking will be a huge asset when it comes to ICD-10. Physicians must ask critical questions of themselves and their staff to determine their “ICD-10 prognosis.” The goal is to ensure a healthy outcome – both operationally and financially.

The following are some questions to consider when assessing your practice’s ICD-10 readiness:

Has someone been appointed to lead the ICD-10 effort? A practice manager or lead coder is a logical choice. Many practices may also decide to streamline the effort by hiring an external ICD-10 training company. Either way, the kitchen needs a chef, and you must assign one!

Is your documentation truly ready for ICD-10? Don’t try and speculate whether your documentation will be sufficient under ICD-10. Only a formal documentation audit can reveal this. Plan to review at least 25 charts per provider. Choose charts randomly, or consider auditing a particular date of service or your top 20 diagnoses. When auditing, ensure that documentation includes acuity, disease type, stage, laterality, manifestation, and site specificity. Other details may also be necessary, depending on the specialty.

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