Preparing for ICD-10 Requires Change Management

Change management technologies have emerged as a key risk management tool for organizations that need to protect sensitive data and ensure optimal IT uptime. This is becoming evident in the health care sector, where the rise of electronic health records is creating regulatory and technical nightmares that force IT teams to take more control over their configurations. The ICD-10 regulatory laws are especially evident in this segment, and change management plays a vital role in protecting health care companies from problems.

Understanding the Implications of ICD-10 Standards
Regulatory laws put significant pressure on technology leaders, and the ICD-10 requirements are not an exception to this rule. A release from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services explained that ICD-10 regulations are, on the whole, all about making patient data available when they cross traditional care boundaries without putting that information at risk.

"The ICD-10 codes on a claim are used to classify diagnoses and procedures on claims submitted to Medicare and private insurance payers," the release stated. "By enabling more detailed patient history coding, ICD-10 can help to better coordinate a patient's care across providers and over time. ICD-10 improves quality measurement and reporting, facilitates the detection and prevention of fraud, waste, and abuse and leads to greater accuracy of reimbursement for medical services."

The goal of coordinating patient care regardless of which provider they are working with is representative of overarching themes in the health care sector - simplifying operations, giving clinical staff the data they need and improving the patient experience. All together, ICD-10 is about protecting data regardless of where it is residing, which makes change tasks especially important.

Considering the Relationship Between ICD-10 and Change Management
Different EHR systems are not inherently interoperable. Creating a compatible system within a hospital network is a huge challenge, establishing interoperability across provider boundaries isn't feasible. Instead, databases, applications and other services that handle information need to be moved between sources and put into the correct format if they are going to be able to make information accessible in different provider systems.

This is where change is so important. Hospital IT teams are going to need to continually fine tune their configurations to handle new types of data coming into the network. The result is almost continual change. As if the frequency of change is not problematic enough, consider that a botched process can cause data to be published in a publicly accessible location or inadvertently deleted. Both of those problems constitute a regulatory breach and can lead to huge fines and other costs. Complying with standards like ICD-10 hinges on being able to handle change without risk.

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