Report: Small practices could spend less on ICD-10

ICD-10 could cost small practices far less than previously estimated.

Smaller healthcare entities face big challenges when meeting all of the ICD-10 requirements, but one new report alleges that it may cost less than they expect. In an article for the Journal of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), a team of four medical professionals broke down the expected ICD-10 compliance costs and found that a small practice will need to spend, on average, a maximum of $5,900.

This differs greatly from previous predictions, which have ranged as high as more than $105,000 in a 2008 report. The difference is due to several factors: Previous estimates often included irrelevant additional costs, the authors write, and many of the training and educational resources needed to educate staff has grown less expensive in recent years.

Among these are such areas as coding, implementation training and the official ICD-10 Diagnoses Codebook. Incentive payments for transitioning to an electronic medical record have also helped practitioners lower the cost sometimes by as much as $60,000.

"Since the new estimates of the costs for ICD-10 preparation are much lower than originally estimated, the barriers to ICD-10 implementation are much less than originally projected," the authors conclude. Elsewhere they assert that "readily available free and low cost solutions offered by coding, education and software vendors" have helped to reduce the overall financial burden.

This is all the more reason for practices who may have previously thought they couldn't afford it to pursue healthcare coding and consulting services soon. The cost will most likely be lower and the overall benefit just as crucial, rather than base cost estimates over outdated information. Working with professionals on this process will also help practices document it during every step and improve future conversions.

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