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Tips for making your 2014 EHR, ICD-10 update go more smoothly

Four healthcare systems experts give their best tips on how to prepare for 2014's most challenging regulations: ICD-10 and meaningful use stage 2.

This is the third part in a series on the upcoming ICD-10 and meaningful use stage 2 changeovers. The first part covers how some providers are feeling squeezed by the closing regulation windows, and part two goes in-depth to show what systems providers are updating in advance of the new rules. Here, four health IT systems practitioners offer quick tips for ensuring full organizational compliance with the ICD-10 update and stage 2.

Kent Hoyos, CIO and vice president of information technology at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center in California: Don't be first in the EHR upgrade pool if you don't have to be. Then, network with IT leaders, other facilities that are the early adopters -- running the same software, if possible -- to prepare for problems you may end up dealing with.

Gene Koncki, director of applications, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare in Glendale, Wis.: While your big software vendors probably have their ICD-10 updates complete or almost complete, stay in touch with the smaller ones if you have any worries about timely delivery. "Push them as much as you can, and keep riding them," he said.

David Miller, vice chancellor and chief information officer of University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences: Get many people outside of IT involved. Software decisions should be driven by operational need, not IT desires. Getting clinical, financial and administrative buy-in starts with giving them ownership of the project in the first place. If EHR implementation is owned by IT, it's doomed to failure.

Gretchen Tegethoff, senior vice president and CIO of Athens Regional Health System in Georgia: Keep implementation teams focused on EHRs, even though other projects constantly come up. Listen to these other projects and take on what needs to be done to keep day-to-day IT online, but at the same time, prioritize the EHR upgrades over what could be other distractions.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Don Fluckinger, news director, or contact @DonFluckinger on Twitter.

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