Countdown to ICD-10 – 300 Hospitals Report – AHIMA

Tom Caswell
Director of Sales & Marketing
Synernet, Inc.

At the recent AHIMA Coding Community meeting in Atlanta, GA, Torrey Barnhouse and William Rudman presented their research on 300 hospital’s ICD-10 readiness status.  Their sample included 300+ bed teaching and non-teaching hospitals, hospitals under 300 beds, and critical access hospitals. They had great participation with 84% of HIM Directors responding to their survey.

The overall findings were that approximately 50% of the organizations surveyed are in the beginning phases of ICD-10 preparation.  Of those who have started ICD-10 preparation, 72% indicated they had begun ICD-10 education through development of a steering committee, budget development and ICD-10 audits.  Two-thirds of the respondents indicated they have a CDI program in place and 41% of those who don’t indicated they plan to start one this year.

Many organizations are evaluating computer assisted coding (CAC) as a tool to assist with the projected backlogs with ICD-10 implementation.  At the time of the survey, only 11% of organizations have CAC in place but 75% indicated they plan on implementing CAC by 2015.

According to this study, there is a 23% expected increase in coding labor although 40% of respondents did not know yet whether ICD-10 will increase the need for additional coders.  The facilities indicated that those who did expect to hire additional coders, 52% will hire inpatient coders, 27% would look to outside vendors for coding support and 15% would consider both options.

Four Recommendations from the Survey:

1)      Develop the right mix for your approach to ICD-10 that includes computer assisted coding, ICD-10 training and education programs, and dual coding audits to assess coding deficiencies and documentation improvement opportunities.
2)      Plan for staffing shortages and backlogs by either hiring additional coding staff or developing a relationship with a vendor.
3)      Develop a realistic budget to cover transition expenses.  The average cost for training per coder is $12,200.
4)      Continue to educate administrative staff that the transition to ICD-10 is an organization-wide project and not just a coding issue.

Read the full report in the June edition of the Journal of AHIMA

To learn more about Synernet’s Coding Services and ICD-10 implementation, visit our website at


The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is the premier association of health information management (HIM) professionals worldwide. Serving 52 affiliated component state associations and more than 71,000 members, it is recognized as the leading source of “HIM knowledge,” a respected authority for rigorous professional education and training.

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