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An Outsiders First Perspective of AHIMA 11

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This being my first time to attend the AHIMA Annual Conference I thought I’d do a post talking about my experience for those who haven’t attended. Plus, a look at some of the major topics of discussion that I’m sure to write about in the near future.

I must admit that it feels like a very different conference for someone who’s use to attending conferences in the predominantly male driven IT world. I’m certainly not complaining about it at all, but it is interesting to see the subtle differences based upon the predominantly female AHIMA attendees. For example, I have a bottle of nail polish in my pocket from 3M. That’s definitely something you wouldn’t find at a male dominated IT conference. Although, even I as a male took one for my daughter. Can you imagine how much she’ll love me for it?

I must admit that I’m still a little torn about the AHIMA conference, because I can’t help but wonder how many of the AHIMA members really exert influence over decision makers in their organization. This was partially highlighted to me by the choice of AHIMA keynotes which focus on leadership. It seems that AHIMA is making an effort to help their members become leaders in their organization and not just “worker bees.”

I’m sure my perspective is tainted a little bit when I think back to times where I’ve seen some of my HIM friends come back from conferences that taught them about EMR. They have all this energy about the interesting technologies or new products, but they far too often say something like, “Not that anyone cares, since they won’t really listen to me about EHR.” I really hope that this is a rather broad generalization. Plus, while it might be true that many in healthcare don’t listen as highly to HIM (or doctors in many cases) when it comes to EHR, I think HIM does have more of a voice when it comes to things like managing Release of Information, ICD-10, document imaging, etc.

The micro industries that exist has been one of the interesting things I’ve found at AHIMA. For example, there’s some really interesting and relatively large companies working in the Release of Information space. It’s quite amazing to me to see something so niche be so successful.

One thing I have really enjoyed about the people at AHIMA is how supportive they are of each other. There seem to be really tight bonds and great relationships between those that attend.

Overall I’ve really enjoyed my AHIMA experience so far. I’ve only been able to attend one session (see my post on EMR and EHR about the Healthcare Social Media session I attended), but the people I’ve met have been interesting and beneficial. I guess that’s true for most conferences. It’s all about the people.

October 4, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

What Are EMR Vendors Planning for ICD-10?

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I remember when I first started my job at a healthcare facility 5+ years ago, I ran into these codes they called ICD-9. Yes, this was all very foreign to me, but I learned quickly the meaning of ICD-9. I also learned quickly that the EMR vendor which had been selected (before I was there) didn’t provide a list of ICD-9 as part of their EMR software (they do now). They did provide an upload feature and so we exported a list out of our old PMS, cleaned them up a little and then uploaded them into the new EMR. Not a fun or effective process even that way.

Obviously, we’ve come a long way in five years. There are plenty of free lists of ICD-9 codes around the net that people can use, manipulate and add to their EMR software pretty easily.

However, I couldn’t help but wonder what solutions were being offered for EMR vendors planning for ICD-10. Yes, EMR vendors do have until October 1st, 2013 (which has been moved back a bunch of times so let me know if it’s been changed again) and so maybe EMR vendors aren’t concerned about it yet. Although, I’m guessing that many have already put a lot of thought into preparing for ICD-10.

My question for EMR vendors is, how are you planning to handle the ICD-10 codes? We’re talking about going from 14,315 diagnosis codes to 69,101 diagnosis codes. The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), AHIMA, the American Hospital Association, and 3M Health Information Systems have put together some General Equivalence Mappings (GEMs) that I believe try to do some mapping between ICD-9 and ICD-10. However, like translating a language there’s rarely a one to one match. With 4+ times as many codes there couldn’t be. So, certainly there’s the question of how you’re going to make the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 coding?

Although, at a simpler level, how are you planning to get the almost 70k ICD-10 codes in your system? Does anyone know of a database of these codes that’s available for EMR vendors? Is each EMR vendor going to try and create their own? What’s happening in this regard?

And maybe the answer is….ask us once we’re done dealing with stage 1 meaningful use. ICD-10 isn’t until stage 2 or stage 3 meaningful use.

July 29, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.