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What scares you most about ICD-10? Is it the countless codes you will have to learn, the lack of success the Canadian Healthcare system suffered during the implementation of ICD-10, or the potential productivity losses?

What you are right about is the complexity and expansion of the code set; the approximate 13,000 previously used ICD-9 codes have grown to more than 68,000 codes for ICD-10. However, you must realize that your practice will not be dealing with all of these codes, but you can most certainly expect that your practice will have to become very familiar with a couple dozen new codes. Just as all new concepts and information require time to process, you can expect that over time and with repetitive use, you will find yourself gradually becoming accustomed to the new ICD-10 guidelines with ease.

Why Canadian Authorities Struggled with ICD-10 

It could be considered that Canada had much more adapting to endure during their implementation of ICD-10 than we will have to. In Canada, all medical coding submissions were paper based prior to the implementation of ICD-10. So when the time for ICD-10 implementation came around, Canadian coders were not only making a transition to the use of a computer software over physical books but also developing their knowledge of a new code set.

The large cost of implementation for the new technology is a huge factor that was overlooked. The fact that this and many other major changes that occurred were largely underestimated made the transition to ICD-10 for Canadian authorities and users such a struggle.

How to Avoid the Same Mistakes

A tough transition period for Canadian Medical Services is what led to their high productivity losses after the switch from ICD-9; since we do not face the same challenges we are a step ahead. Until October 1st we will not truly know whether we will be hit with the same productivity losses but there is much we can do to prepare and avoid disaster.

Take advantage of the ICD-10 preparation materials provided to you, many of these free materials will be able to get you and your practice on track for a smooth transition to ICD-10. Make sure your entire organization is informed about the changes so everyone is on-board when the October 1st deadlines rolls around the corner.


Check out the ICD-10 Quick Start Guide to ensure you are taking all the steps required for your practice to successfully implement ICD-10 https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Coding/ICD10/Downloads/ICD10QuickStartGuide20150622.pdf.