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ICD-10 Transition: The Benefits of a Mobile Charge Capture Strategy

by Chrissy Braden, Director of Business Operations, pMD

Transitioning to the new ICD-10 code set without a mobile charge capture strategy is like traversing a snowstorm without a shovel. You will get through it (eventually), but it won’t be easy.

With the ICD-10 transition looming later this year, practices are scrambling to get a plan into place. Mobile charge capture can be an important part of that transition for doctors who see patients in hospitals and other locations outside of their office.

When providers are in the clinic environment, there are practice management and medical billing services to keep them organized and efficient with charge entry. But when providers work outside of their office's four walls to see patients, they often revert to disorganized and inefficient systems of paper, spreadsheets, phone calls, and text messages… napkins, even. Mobile charge capture replaces these systems with intuitive software. It extends the practice to the hospital and the hospital back to the practice, so providers can stay on top of everything in real-time and communicate efficiently from their smartphones and tablets.

The ICD-10 transition is magnifying deficiencies in many charge capture systems, especially those on paper. The ICD-10 conversion process is complex, difficult, and time consuming with a paper system, and most healthcare groups don’t have the bandwidth to manage it. Flipping through a code book to search for the new codes is tedious and can increase charge capture lag, ultimately disrupting revenue. Updating paper superbills that are already a page long isn't realistic for most specialties where one ICD-9 code will become multiple ICD-10 codes.

It is important to select a charge capture vendor that will be easy for physicians to use. ICD-10 is a transition in billing codes; it's not a transition in a doctor's evaluation of a patient. If a doctor diagnoses cellulitis, they know whether it's on the patient's chest or leg, front or back side. They will happily choose the right ICD-10 code if it's intuitive and easy to find. A drill-down menu, which many charge capture vendors provide, is organized and seems ideal in theory, but it is time consuming and laborious for the provider in practice.

In many of our conversations with new pMD clients, we learn that their original ICD-10 plan was to go through each and every code on their list and manually convert them—needless to say, that’s an overwhelmingly daunting task. With mobile charge capture, a bulk of the conversion is automated to one click. The transition is fast and straightforward, allowing you to incorporate the new ICD-10 code system into your practice’s workflow whenever you are ready. Whether a practice chooses to take on the transition instantly or incrementally, mobile charge capture ensures that ICD-10 will not cause any hiccups in a group’s workflow or billing routine. (And, for those curious, the ICD-10 code for hiccups is R06.6, maybe a good one for Michelle to incorporate into her Top Five ICD-10 Codes blog series…)

It might seem easier to ignore the snowstorm of ICD-10. But addressing your needs now by applying a good mobile charge capture strategy will make the transition smoother and easier.

Chrissy Braden is Director of Business Operations for pMD, a mobile charge capture company, and an athenahealth Marketplace partner.

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