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AHIMA report: Ecosystem around ICD-9 to ICD-10 transition

At an AHIMA conference dominated by the ICD-9 to ICD-10 transition, the ecosystem of third-party vendors assisting providers with the changeover thrives.

NEW ORLEANS -- Over the years leading up to ICD-10, after the new medical coding system was delayed in 2012 and 2013,  health information managers at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in Cleveland stayed busy getting ready for the new code set when it did come.

To prepare for that day -- the Oct. 1, 2015 kickoff for ICD-10 -- Sharon Kelley, a registered nurse and clinical documentation improvement specialist at St. Vincent Charity, used a software tool called "Query Wizard" to ease the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10. The wizard is part of the ChartWise 2.0 system from ChartWise Medical Systems, Inc., in Wakefield, R.I.

Kelley and her colleagues dual-coded for more than a year in both ICD-9 and ICD-10, using the Web-based query tool to monitor physicians and provide them with the radically more detailed ICD-10 equivalents of ICD-9 diagnosis and procedure codes, which ChartWise generated.

Kelley said the ChartWise system simplified the transition. "Now we feel like we're prepared," she said in an interview with SearchHealthIT before the 2015 AHIMA Convention & Exhibit.

AHIMA conference serves as ICD-10 central

That software was on display on the bustling floor of the American Health Information Management Association's (AHIMA) annual conference, which was held, coincidentally, over the five days leading up to the Oct. 1 changeover.

ChartWise was among dozens of vendors showcasing ICD-10-related tools and other health information management systems designed to ease coding concerns and optimize billing and reimbursement during a transition period when many expect confusion and delays.

In this apparently thriving ecosystem, MedeAnalytics Inc., based in Emeryville, Calif., stood out with its cloud-based analytics platform's ultra-granular focus on areas critical to ICD-10 coding, such as severity of illness; co-morbidity or major complicating condition; and diagnosis-related-group changes.

In other words, the company's analytics modules -- which the company says are used by some 600 provider organizations across the country either in standalone or background engine versions -- help flag the best ways to use ICD-10 to improve case mix, and care and capture as much revenue as possible at the same time.

"If case mix changes, your revenue changes," the company's director of product strategy, Greg Krantz, said as he stood before a colorful analytics data visualization screen. "We're marrying clinical and financial metrics that have traditionally been siloed."

MedeAnalytics also has patient intake, revenue cycle management, and population health analytics modules, among other products. Company executives say at least 100 customers use MedeAnalytics instead of the analytics programs included in the providers' EHR vendors' systems.

CEO views on ICD-9 to ICD-10 change

Meanwhile, Tom Liu, CEO of another member of the ICD-10 mini-universe, FutureNet Technologies Corporation in Diamond Bar, Calif. -- a vendor of clinical documentation and computer assisted coding software, and medical speech transcription services -- was bullish on ICD-10.

"It's an opportunity," Liu said. "ICD-9 lasted too long. With all the new technologies and new procedures, we have to do ICD-10."

As for the president and CEO of ChartWise Medical Systems Inc., Jon Elion, M.D., a practicing cardiologist, said he, too, welcomes ICD-10 and is a fan, both as a doctor and businessman.

Asked about his company's competition, Elion said it includes consultants in general, as well as what he called the "status quo," that is, providers that try to navigate the complex terrain of medical coding on their own.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to show that Jon Elion, M.D., is a practicing cardiologist, not a radiologist.

Let us know what you think about the story, or the switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes; email Shaun Sutner, news and features writer or contact @ssutner on Twitter.

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