While there is a delay until 2014, this is not the time to put off ICD-10 preparation when it comes to credentials and implementation planning. The delay is a mere opportunity to catch up with the timeline and ensure that key initiatives have been met and put in place within your medical facility.

Now is the time to ask what your implementation plan is for the ICD-10. Putting off preparation will only hurt you and your facility in the long-term. Below are several steps that can put you in better shape when 2014 arrives and the implementation is live.

Construct Organizational Awareness

At this point everyone in the office may be aware of the proposed date and model for the implementation of ICD-10, but promoting further organizational awareness is helpful. The changes are vast and it is important to communicate with everyone who will be affected by them. Large hospitals find that creating an initial awareness campaign with the help of the facility’s executives and administration fosters consistent enlightenment throughout the timeline. Planning and budgeting can be adhered to as the awareness campaign follows the timeline proposed through the implementation.

Address Implementation Issues Early

Surveys have already been sent out and received on ICD-10 implementation issues and how to address them. The top issue ranked is documentation because of its impact on payment and performance reporting. Many of the issues addressed come about from the ICD-9 world and are then carried over as a foreseen issue with the ICD-10. These issues should be documented and addressed to calm the nerves of the staff and those affected by implementation.

Form a Project Management Team

Few organizations go as far as implementing a team of professionals designed to make the transition of ICD-10 smoother. However, a number of hospitals have reported that having a stable project management team with a well-equipped team leader has helped relieve a lot of pressure and concern across the board. The team leader should have working knowledge of both horizontal and vertical relationships within the organization and be willing to work with the team to bring the implementation to fruition.

Establish Budgets and Timelines

When an established timeline is put into place, proper budgeting and organization can take place. Ongoing education, training costs and workshops must take place through the implementation process, as well as after. Having a well-constructed timeline will help lessen the blow of unforeseen costs that creep up during this time. A budget can eliminate costs that were not prepared for ahead of time, allowing planning to take place. If you have not begun to establish a timeline for the ICD-10 implementation or initiated a budgetary plan, the time is now.

While there may not be a seamless approach to the implementation of the ICD-10, following prepared guidelines can help lessen the impact. Aside from those strategies listed above, communication is critical to a smooth and successful transition. All areas of the organization must remain functional and communication will help keep the team together through strength and preparedness.