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Multiple Mock ICD-10

Preparation pays off: Cerner clients complete successful ICD-10 'mock' transition

Considering that thousands of complex codes will be required during the ICD-10 Transition, Cerner clients are proving that preparation pays off – an average of less than two issues (none of which were critical) were reported for each client that participated in Cerner’s recent ICD-10 Mock Transition event.

With less than a year until the switch to ICD-10, the American health care industry feels the pressure of the impending cutover. Some organizations feel prepared; others are still assessing their systems to understand the impact of the highly complex coding system. Fortunately, for a handful of Cerner clients, the Oct. 1, 2015 deadline is not as daunting as it used to be.

In early October, 66 Cerner clients of varying sizes participated in a week-long ICD-10 transition test. Cerner is one of the few companies that supported organizations through a comprehensive test, or "mock" transition of their systems.

Clients pinpointed potential weaknesses, refined workflows, improved documentation and found answers to pressing questions well ahead of the compliance date. One of those clients was Nash Health Care System in North Carolina, which uncovered a few gaps in its cutover plan that required more precise documentation.

"We understand the importance of testing, and we were excited to participate in the Cerner event" said Ken Kilmer, ICD-10 Project Manager at Nash in an interview with EHR Intelligence. "So it was a good event because it not only tested the process of converting, but it allowed us to test just the end-to-end capabilities of our systems to produce a claim in an ICD-10 world and to process the patient producing the claim."

The relatively few issues reported during the event were mainly education opportunities. Some clients learned better ways to search for ICD-10 codes and remove ICD-9 diagnosis codes from documentation templates. Others discovered they needed more specificity in their cutover plans. Meanwhile, Cerner is sharing its findings with other clients while continuing to prepare its solutions for the transition.

“We really encouraged all of our clients to participate in the mock transition, knowing that preparation is everything when it comes to ICD-10,” said Sam Grefrath, Senior Manager of Cerner’s Regulatory Compliance Practice. “We had far fewer issues than what we had originally anticipated, given we had not done an event like this before. So we felt like it was a big success for all of our clients.”

Eighty-eight percent of post-survey responders indicated they were satisfied or very satisfied with the event, and 94 percent plan to participate in future rounds of Cerner-supported testing. Just in time: the next mock transition will be in spring 2015.

"We were relieved that we participated in this event because we identified some deficiencies in our documentation," Kilmer explained to EHR Intelligence. "Now that we’ve addressed those, we’re going to have a much better product and a much better plan for the night of activation. So I would say to other providers that they should do this testing now. Don’t wait until you’re crowding up against the deadline."

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Client outcomes were achieved in respective settings and are not representative of benefits realized by all clients due to many variables, including solution scope, client capabilities and business and implementation models.