It’s no secret that 2014 is stuffed full of health IT requirements, meaningful use and ICD-10 at the helm. The end goal of each program is the same—to make healthcare more efficient and effective—but the paths getting there are different.
However, according to Farzad Mostashari, preparation for the two programs go hand in hand. “Frankly, I don’t see ICD-10 as disrupting progress toward meaningful use,” he said. “If anything, I’m seeing that if we can get the synergy going . . . people seeing if I have a meaningful use certified EHR, if I have clinical documentation, then it’s easier for me to get to ICD-10, then that’s another reason for me to move forward on the clinical side.”
In other words, ICD-10 and meaningful use both require a certified EHR. They both have clinical documentation standards. They both seek to solve problems that have arisen due to the fact that healthcare is still following rules that were determined in the ’90s, an entirely different world technologically. As momentum builds for one program, it builds the other program up as well.
The two initiatives are more than just nit-picky requirements enforced by the government—they will change healthcare significantly.
Even though meaningful use is tied to EHRs and ICD-10 is tied to billing, planning for both programs simultaneously—and executing those plans—is not only achievable, but also a good course of action. Stage 2 meaningful use, for instance, cannot be achieved without ICD-10. Furthermore, a physician who plans to demonstrate meaningful use may find that some of the costs counterbalance that of ICD-10.
When faced with health IT changes, many practices focus first on technology and then on workflow. However, doing it the other way around would be more beneficial for the practice. Meaningful use and ICD-10 are baseline requirements for any EHR or PM software, but practices should choose software that melds with their workflow as much as possible. This way at least practices will have usable software while working toward government requirements.