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ICD-10 survey results show many testing efforts put on hold

The healthcare industry is making progress in its drive toward ICD-10 readiness, but some tasks — including those related to testing — are slipping into 2015. The ICD-10 delay granted extra time to make the coding transition, but according to responses to a survey conducted by the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI),  the delay has slowed down providers’ transition efforts or placed them on hold.

WEDI regularly conducts ICD-10 readiness surveys and analyzes the results to gauge the industry’s progress. The most recent survey, completed in August, includes responses from 87 vendors, 103 health plans and 324 providers.

Improvement in vendor product development is one of the noteworthy results from the survey. About two-fifths of surveyed vendors indicate their product development is complete and one-third are at least three-quarters complete.  The number of vendors who indicate their products are halfway or less than halfway through the product development stage dropped significantly from one-fifth to one-tenth in the past year. In terms of product availability, one-fourth of vendors responded that their products would not be ready until 2015 or responded ‘unknown.’ Two-thirds of vendors indicated their products are available now — nearly double the amount from last year’s survey analysis.

More than half of the health plans surveyed have already begun external testing of their health plans for ICD-10 readiness, doubling last year’s figure. More than one-quarter do not expect to begin external testing until 2015 and nearly three-quarters of health plans have started internal testing, compared with less than one half in the 2013 survey.

According to the 2013 survey, about three-fifths of providers had expected to begin external testing by the middle of 2014, but only one-third of the providers indicated they have completed it in this year’s survey. More than half of large providers have begun testing, while most small providers are planning to begin in 2015 or are undecided on their timeline.

Based on the results of the survey, vendors and providers are making progress, but approximately two-thirds of the surveyed providers have delayed their testing efforts or put them on hold. According to WEDI’s report, delaying compliance efforts reduces the time available for adequate testing and increases unanticipated effects on production. WEDI predicts that there will be significant disruption during next October’s ICD-10 deadline, “unless all industry segments make the effort to continue to move forward with their implementation efforts.”

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