Healthcare IT Sourcing Watchlist – Are Your Vendors ICD-10 Ready?

By Jeff Muscarella

EVP of IT and Telecom Division, NPI

June 09, 2014

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If you’re a CIO or IT sourcing professional in the healthcare provider industry, you may have mixed feelings about the most recent IDC-10 deadline extension. For some providers who have done their best to ready their organization and made investments accordingly, the extension elicits frustration. Others are breathing a sigh of relief. There is no doubt that the transition from ICD-9 is a mammoth undertaking impacting virtually every aspect of the organization, especially IT.

Much of the dialogue thus far has been about provider readiness – but what about vendors? Vendor readiness for ICD-10 has been – and remains – a serious concern across the healthcare industry. At the end of 2013, the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) surveyed healthcare IT vendors. Here’s what they found:

  • 20 percent of vendors indicated that their ICD-10 compliant products wouldn’t even be ready for beta testing until 2014
  • 10 percent of vendors didn’t know when they would have their products ready
  • The finger pointing goes both ways - many vendors have pointed the finger back at their healthcare provider customers, claiming the lack of provider readiness as a serious obstacle in developing, testing and refining ICD-10 products.
  • Fast forward to mid-2014 and healthcare IT sourcing professionals are realizing that vendor readiness for ICD-10 has added another layer of complexity to the purchasing process. Even now, healthcare CIOs cannot assume their current and prospective software vendors are ICD-10 ready, and should ask the following questions:

  • Is the product compliant with ICD-10 requirements? If not, will it ever be compliant?
  • When will beta testing begin? When will it end?
  • What interoperability testing is required, and what is the status of that testing?
  • When will the vendor start and complete ICD-10 testing within the client organization?
  • Which product version of the software will be ICD-10 compliant?
  • Will it require any upgrades to the supporting hardware/software environment?
  • What is the planned release date?
  • How will customer training be handled?
  • What is the vendor's strategy for blending or working with ICD-9 and ICD-10 records data when it comes to clinical treatment or financial reimbursement?
  • What are the SLA’s terms for responding to user issues when ICD-10 goes live?
  • What are the incremental costs of upgrades and training (if any)?
  • Asking these questions is a necessary step in making sure your IT vendors can help you meet the ICD-10 deadline. They’re also necessary to prevent unexpected costs that can further raise the price of your ICD-10 readiness initiatives – both in the short-term and long-term.