December 31, 1999 11:59 pm – I’m sure many of us can vividly recall sitting around the TV with friends and family watching Dick Clark and Peter Jennings count down the seconds until the New Year, wondering just what was going to happen when the clocks and computers read 01/01/00. For years leading up to December 31st 1999, speculation and rumors swirled regarding how everything from the world’s stock exchanges to personal computers would react to the date format change. This level of uncertainty led many folks to take some measure of preparation should the banks and markets close for an extended period of time due to a computer glitch. And then it happened, just like that. Dick Clark counted the seconds down, the ball dropped, the clocks switched formats and it was over. Months of preparation and speculation had come and gone and we were all left asking, “Ok…what’s next?”
Nearly three and a half months after the United States switched over to ICD-10 for disease classification and billing purposes, the aftermath has not been nearly as dire as many believed it might have been. Most institutions made the appropriate preparations and put in the time to ensure productivity disruptions would be minimal and denial rates would not grow. Initial metrics from Relay Health seem to indicate that across the country “Days to Payment” and “Denial Rates” have not changed all that drastically from the pre-ICD-10 days (According to the Relay metrics, “Days to Payment” & “Denial Rates” have actually decreased slightly post October 1st). Certainly there were some isolated technology and process glitches post October 1st, but as a whole, preparation and hard work seemingly won the day.
Leading up to ICD-10, one of the common themes we heard from our clients was the intense focus on creating incremental efficiencies throughout the HIM & Coding Deptartments. In theory, the sum of the individual efficiencies would yield a synergy that had the ability to mitigate any potential disruptions or delays caused by the new codes. While ICD-10 is now in our rear view mirrors, the continued search for incremental efficiencies is a focus that we should all carry on further into 2016. As a trusted adviser for healthcare institutions across the country, DataBank is well positioned to partner with our clients in their continued efforts to identify and implement efficient processes throughout the hospital. Whether it’s automating a front end registration process, providing chart assembly and document scanning services or building a workflow to manage medical staff credentials, DataBank is well positioned to offer a host of technology and service based offerings to our healthcare clients.