Computer Assisted Coding: How to prepare for ICD-10 and avoid devastating cash flow backlogs

With the increasing regulatory pressures and tighter more restrictive reimbursements from the financial side, the United States healthcare system is facing many challenges over the next couple of years.  This is driving healthcare administrators to look toward innovative technologies to assist them in meeting the requirements of today’s legislation.

Computer Assisted Coding (CAC) application, analyzes health care documents and produces appropriate medical codes for specific phrases and terms within the document.  CAC aids to automatically generate medical billing codes from clinical documentation in EHRs and transcription systems. That’s a very powerful technology when you consider the fact that ICD-10 will be bringing an additional 120,000 billing codes. If you’re not properly prepared, it could mean devastating cash flow backlogs for your practice or hospital.

Fast Chart provides M*Modal’s Conversational Documentation Services (CDS), a cloud-based Speech Understanding Platform  which combines proprietary, best-in-class speech recognition with a powerful Natural Language Understanding (NLU) technology to generate structured, fully encoded, meaningful data, “Clinically Actionable Data” (CAD), from narrative text and from templated fields.

Computer Assisted Coding technology, powered by M*Modal, provides some really unique features to give your coders a single reference to remove inefficiencies, reduce denials, and compress the billing cycle.

Some features of Computer Assisted Coding technology:
•  Automated coding workflow that flags incomplete physician documentation to proactively support CDI initiatives and reduce retrospective queries and delays.
•  Produce productivity gains of 25–75 percent by providing rapid review aids and directing coders to concentrate on priority cases.
• Minimize Discharged Not Final Billed (DNFB) rates through CAC, workflow queues and workforce management capability.
•  Combine strong coding workflow management with accurate ICD-9/ICD-10, CPT and E&M code assignments generated from automated medical report analysis.
•  Cloud-based solution that is accessible by coders located in-house or off-site.
•  Online messaging for Coders, supervisors, CDI professionals and physicians.
•  Plug in encoder-agnostic, Computer-Assisted Coding capabilities.
•  Compile documentation from multiple disparate sources to simplify coder review.

Preparing for ICD-10 well in advance is necessary, because the US Department of Health and Human Services is unyielding on the deadline, with no grace period. This is crucial in your practice’s billing, because payments can be interrupted in the event that codes have not been converted.

The American Medical Association recommends the following ten steps to prepare for the transition to ICD-10:
1.      Organize the implementation effort (two to four weeks). During this time, practices should get familiar with ICD-10 requirements, identify key personnel, and set a preliminary budget for the work.
2.      Analyze the impact of implementation (two to three months). In this process, a practice looks at what work processes and electronic systems used in ICD-9 will need conversion.
3.      Contact system vendors (one to two months, and ongoing). Practices will need to contact their electronic health system vendors to find out when they will update their systems to ICD-10, how much it will cost, and whether any new hardware will be necessary.
4.      Budget for implementation costs (two to four weeks, and ongoing).
5.      Contact your trading partners (1–2 months and ongoing). In this step, practices should contact clearing-houses, billing services, and payers to understand their implementation timeframe.
6.      Implement System and/or Software Upgrades (three to six months)
7.      Conduct Internal testing (one to two months).
8.      Update Internal Process (one to two months). At this point, practices should update electronic and manual processes for ICD-10 implementation.
9.      Conduct staff training (1 to 2 months and ongoing).
10.  Conduct external testing of transactions with ICD-10 codes (one to two months). Test various transactions with your trading partners to ensure that the ICD-10 codes can be properly transmitted and interpreted by the various systems.

Investing in Computer Assisted Coding technology is a cost-effective and efficient way to ease the tension of ICD-10 while boosting the accuracy and productivity of ICD-9 today. For more information on expectations and implementation suggestions for ICD-10, visit the American Medical Association’s website at www.ama-assn.org.

Fast Chart prides itself on providing innovative, accurate and affordable clinical documentation solutions to meet each client’s unique needs. Feel free to contact us or call our office toll free at 1-800-334-6606 to inquire about Computer Assisted Coding or to see a demo.

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