IT Tool Makes Conversion To ICD-10 Less Painful

ChartWise system reduces the burden on clinicians by making ICD-10 codes appear when users scroll over ICD-9 entries.
The Great ICD-10 Debate: Healthcare Coding Transforms
The Great ICD-10 Debate: Healthcare Coding Transforms
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Even with the one-year delay to the ICD-10 switchover recently approved by the federal government, pressure still exists for physicians to meet that compliance date--155,000 new codes and all.

ChartWise hopes to ease the pain with the introduction of ChartWise:CDI, a Web-based software platform that lets users compare current ICD-9 codes to their ICD-10 equivalents with a simple scroll-over function. The system also offers training tips for physicians, allowing them to ease into the new documentation requirements that are set to become mandatory in 2014.

The switch to ICD-10 is creating the same furor that existed around Y2K, according to Dr. Jon Elion, founder and CEO of ChartWise, in an interview with InformationWeek Healthcare.

"People are scurrying around, worrying about ICD-10. Their computer systems are affected, training is affected, and coders are affected. .... The advance we're releasing helps take ICD-10 so it's not just for coders anymore."

In fact, the company is focusing on doctors just as much as coders to make the transition a smooth one. The typical approach to documentation improvement, said Elion, is to enlist a consultant to train hospital staff, review charts, and ask doctors for clarification. "Although there are many fine companies who make a living doing this… when they leave, much of the knowledge walks out the door," he said. ChartWise's software, Elion continued, aims to take that expertise and knowledge of a consultant and include it in a system.

[ Read ICD-10 Boosts Appeal Of Computer-Assisted Coding Tools. ]

The software has "31,000 rules," said Elion, as well as knowledge of coding systems such as ICD-9 and ICD-10, lab values, drugs, medications, and so on. "It helps give a reviewer or documentation specialist a hand in understanding what may be stated implicitly on the chart that used to be stated explicitly," he said.

With the release of the software's training tips, doctors have access to concepts they'll need to know two years down the road. For example, said Elion, if a patient has a broken leg, an alert will pop up warning the clinician of all the specifications they'll need to make once ICD-10 kicks in. "They'll need to specify which side is it on, if it's an open fracture, etc.," said Elion. "[The software] lists all the things they'll have to be careful to document in the chart."

Elion said the goal for ChartWise is to build a "gentle familiarity" with ICD-10 codes over the next two years, "rather than have a panic in October 2014, where suddenly everyone has to change," he said. Coders have a lot of things to learn, he continued, but for clinicians, value lies within using the software to see how they can improve their documentation techniques over time.

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