By Sarianne Gruber
In a letter from Mr. Jim Daley, Past–Chair of WEDI, to Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary Department of Health and Human Services, Daley accounts that the “delay has had a negative impact on some readiness activities”. The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) released the results of its February 2015 ICD-10 Industry Readiness Survey. With a decrease in the rate of preparedness for providers, health plans and vendors across several readiness metrics, signals that ICD-10 delay until October 1, 2015 has prompted more time for preparation. Yet, instead the “uncertainty over further delays was listed as a top obstacle across all industry segments”, and “some tasks slipped into 2015, particularly those related to testing”.
February 2015 Study Findings
WEDI has been surveying providers, vendors and health plans since 2009 to track the status of the healthcare industry with respect to their readiness status for the ICD-10 conversion. The 2015 survey participants included at total of 1174 respondents, composed of 796 providers, 173 vendors and 205 health plans. This response rate was considerably higher compared to the previous August 2014 survey, which had 514 respondents (of which 324 were providers, 87 were vendors and 103 health plans). Daley compares the February 2015 survey results to the survey completed six months earlier in August, and comments on several salient overall findings:
- On over one-half of all vendors, health plan and provider responses, uncertainty around further delays were listed as a primary obstacle to implementation.
- All responders had started working on “vendor product development”. However, the completion distribution varied little from last August, indicating only modest progress was made.
- About 60% of the responders reported their vendor products were available and/or started custom testing; a slight decrease from 66.7% reported in August 2014.
- Of the 205 health plans, 80% completed their impact assessment, an increase from 75% reported in August 2014. However, all health plans should have completed this task.
- Over 50% of the health plans began external testing, only a slight improvement from last August.
- About 33% of providers reported their impact assessments were completed. A bit low compared to August 2014 with 50% of providers having completed impact assessments.
- About 25% of providers had begun external testing and just a few completed this step. A notable decrease compared to the August 2014 provider response of 33% for external testing.
- Health plan response on external testing approach showed about less than 25% planned to test with the majority of providers, and about 60% indicated testing with a sample of providers. External testing approach responses were akin to the August 2014 survey.
Background on the WEDI Survey
The February 2015 survey asks providers, health plans and vendors to report on ICD-10 readiness status. The survey was initiated in November 2009. However, the last several surveys are based on an abridged set of questions to evaluate status rather than compliance. The results are based on all submitted surveys, and although not all participants answered every question pertaining to their industry sector, the majority did and the results are based on all responses. Documentation warns that the survey results should not be considered as a proper sampling of the state of the industry. WEDI claims their membership and survey participants tend to be more aware of industry issues and correspondingly more advanced in address these issues. Given the potential for bias, the survey results would tend to provide a somewhat more advanced picture of readiness progress.
For the complete analysis of the WEDI 2015 Survey with a breakout by provider, health plan and vendor, the entire study is presented at February 2015 ICD-10 Industry Readiness Survey.