According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the work providers will have to do in preparation for the ICD-10 transition is temporary. The benefits for providers and patients alike, on the other hand, are forever—or at least until ICD-11. “From proper observation and documentation to improved clinical documentation, progress notes, operative reports, and histories, the benefits of ICD-10 begin with enhanced clinical documentation enabling [providers] to better capture patient visit details and lead to better care coordination and health outcomes,” CMS writes. So, although you might feel more than a bit overwhelmed as we get closer to the October 1, 2014, transition deadline (27 weeks and counting), there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Come 2015, you’ll be an ICD-10 expert, and instead of worrying about transition plans and preparedness strategies, you’ll be able to kick back and enjoy the fruits of your labor (as described on this CMS page and in this SuccessEHS article):

Clinical Benefits

  • Make more informed clinical decisions as a result of more thorough documentation, collection, and evaluation.
  • Achieve new insights and identify new trends thanks to greater specificity, laterality, and detail of patient diagnoses. (This also improves our nation’s ability to report, track, and evaluate public health.)
  • Take advantage of more opportunities for research, trials, and studies because injury classifications will be more accurate. (Plus, because most of the world already uses ICD-10, we will be able to conduct comparative research with other countries.)

Operational Benefits

  • Access more information to better match patients with providers and have more productive and more frequent communication with other healthcare professionals.
  • Use specific patient condition information to make better decisions regarding capital investments and resource allocation to address practice needs.

Professional Benefits

  • Introduce new procedures and diagnoses because the code set is more flexible.
  • Support credentialing and certification through clearer objective data.
  • Improve quality and efficiency reporting by using more specific measures.

Financial Benefits

  • Increase the likelihood of reimbursement through more thorough documentation of patient complexity and level of care. (Plus, the specificity of ICD-10 codes should provide payers with enough information to eliminate the need to request copies of medical records.)
  • Reduce your audit risk exposure because the diagnosis codes are more specific.
  • Facilitate peer-to-peer comparison and benchmarking by using more objective data.

Do you see the light at the end of the ICD-10 transition tunnel? If so, what benefits are you most looking forward to? Tell us in the comment section below.