The transition to the International Classification of Diseases 10th Edition (ICD-10) coding system is an important and federally mandated part of Northwest Community Healthcare's Road to the Future, aligning with our focus to increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve patient care. As you know, this new and updated diagnosis and procedure coding system will allow for better data to measure the quality, safety and efficacy of care, improve clinical, financial and administrative performance, and track public health and risks. For these reasons and more, we are steadily working toward the seamless integration of ICD-10 at NCH, and we want to keep our dedicated medical staff informed along the way.
As of October 1, we are one year away from the ICD-10 compliance deadline, set by the federal government. While this seems far away, there is much to be accomplished. Working groups have been established to oversee specific aspects of the transition, and they have spent the past few months auditing our current systems and workflows. Specifically, working groups first identify forms, reports and processes where diagnosis or procedure codes or descriptions are used. Once these occurrences are identified, working groups begin developing action plans for addressing the transition to ICD-10.
While the medical staff may not be exposed to the direct impact of our preparation yet, we want to keep you informed of our process and progress. The Clinical Documentation Improvement working group has been evaluating NCH inpatient documentation to identify "ICD-10 gaps," and is now creating tools to address key documentation priorities (e.g., physician education, form changes, coder training, as applicable). These CDI program initiatives will be rolled out over the coming months to ensure NCH clinical documentation is ICD-10 ready.
ICD-10 not only benefits patients, it makes NCH a stronger, thriving organization for employees and physicians, positioning us for the future of healthcare. If you have questions about the transition to ICD-10, please don't hesitate to reach out to Sandra Kersten, ICD-10 Project Manager, or Ron Tapnio, Revenue Cycle Management Executive Director and ICD-10 Project Sponsor.