AHIMA survey: Coding accuracy unaffected by ICD-10 transition

A new survey by AHIMA and the AHIMA Foundation finds that the transition to ICD-10 on October 1, 2015, has had virtually no effect on coding accuracy (0.65 percent). In addition, the perceived average productivity decline of 14 percent is less than most in the health care industry expected.

“This survey helps to validate all the anecdotal accounts that the transition to ICD-10 has largely been a smooth one,” says AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. “Health information management (HIM) professionals are already coding with the same degree of accuracy as in ICD-9. Of course with any change there will be an initial period of productivity decline, but we fully expect this decrease will be short-term in nature. In fact, respondents indicated in the survey that they have become more comfortable with the new code set with each day and productivity decreases continue to lessen.”

Many survey respondents noted that the implementation of new computer-assisted coding (CAC) technology occurred at the same time as the introduction of the ICD-10 code set. This may account for some portion of the productivity decline.

Productivity was affected in all respondent groups, regardless of educational level or experience. HIM professionals who worked in inpatient settings had less of a productivity decline than those who worked in outpatient settings.

AHIMA and the AHIMA Foundation plan to conduct another survey in May 2017 to determine trends in productivity and accuracy.

“The greater specificity in ICD-10 will provide for a more accurate and complete patient story and a more meaningful way to track the outcomes of care,” Thomas Gordon says.

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