ICD-10 adoption in the US is long overdue, and adoption is necessary to ensure patient record accuracy as health care evolves. To make way for the inevitable changes that will follow that evolutionary path, the new code set is complex enough to account for future unknowns. Plus, it allows therapists and other providers to accurately report diagnoses for conditions that are part of the modern medical repertoire but do not currently exist within the ICD-9 code set. Each ICD-10 code contains up to seven characters to indicate category of diagnosis, etiology (i.e., the cause, set of causes, or manner of causation of a disease or condition), anatomic site, severity, and other vital details. And while it’s tough to argue against the many benefits of a more detailed coding system, that level of complexity also can cause even the most seasoned coding cowpoke to shake in his or her boots. Here’s how using a web-based EMR can help ease your coding fears:

WebPT + Billing Software - Regular BannerWebPT + Billing Software - Small Banner

Clean and Clear Documentation

If you’re working with an out-of-date dinosaur of an EMR (not that dinosaur; this dinosaur), it might be easy to overlook documentation details as you wade through your software’s cumbersome note-entry processes. When the ICD-10 era comes around, though, you won’t be able to afford taking any shortcuts—because getting paid hinges on detailed documentation. This HIMSS article stresses the importance of clean and accurate documentation in determining the correct code: “With the expansion of diagnosis codes comes a greater level of detail; therefore a greater level of detail will be required in the encounter documentation in order to assign an appropriate diagnosis code.”

Looking for an easier way to ensure clear, concise, and accurate documentation? A web-based EMR might just be the solution you seek. Web-based EMRs—the best ones, anyway—perform constant automatic updates to make sure the system always complies with the latest documentation rules and regulations. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure your system walks you through ICD-10 code conversion in a way that’s easy to understand.

Accurate Coding

Having a web-based EMR in place will certainly make documentation easier, cleaner, and more accurate. But it’s important to keep in mind that an EMR isn’t a magic eight ball. EMR systems are necessary tools, and therapists should be wary of any EMR that promises a too-good-to-be-true ICD-9 to ICD-10 conversion. Automatic, one-to-one crosswalking solutions remove a very important piece of the code translation equation: you. Don’t be fooled; no matter how much you’d like to think that there’s a magical tool that will allow you to simply close your eyes and open them to all the diagnosis answers you’ve ever dreamed of, that tool does not—and will not—exist in the real world. This article sums up the dangers of overly simplistic crosswalking: “Many EMRs plan to use the GEMs to crosswalk the existing diagnosis codes to the new ICD-10-CM codes. Although this plan sounds good in theory, the level of detail provided in the ICD-10 codes does not provide a one to one match.”

A good web-based EMR will provide a complete bank of codes and, based on your documentation, intuitively lead you to the greatest level of specificity—and thus, the best possible coding match. With a tool like that, you can trust that all the relevant codes are right at your fingertips—and that you’ll always land on the right ones.

Code-Supported Workflow

Earlier in this post, I discussed the compliance benefits of a web-based system that performs frequent updates (ideally at no cost to you). In addition to being at the forefront of compliance, web-based EMRs have the flexibility to develop integrated enhancements—not clunky tack-on features—that allow the system to intelligently guide you to the most accurate code. No matter what system you’re using, the software should make your coding processes more streamlined and efficient, and the vendor should offer free and friendly technical support to guide you through any questions you may have.

With October 1 quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to assess whether your EMR is up to the ICD-10 challenge. And if you find that it isn’t, it might be time to implement a new system. With all that being said, here’s to ICD-10 taking health care to infinity and beyond.

  • Is Your Physical Therapy Software Ready for ICD-10? Image

    articleAug 25, 2015 | 6 min. read

    Is Your Physical Therapy Software Ready for ICD-10?

    At this point, the majority of physical therapy clinics are using some type of software to document, schedule, and bill for patient treatment. Thanks to ever-increasing compliance regulations, paper had to go the way of the VHS, becoming nearly obsolete. When your practice switched from paper to software, it was a big change. The process took time and training, and there undoubtedly was a period of adjustment. Now, you’re faced with another switch: ICD-10. And just as …

  • Costly ICD-10 Traps and How to Avoid Them Image

    articleAug 26, 2015 | 5 min. read

    Costly ICD-10 Traps and How to Avoid Them

    Imagine you’re playing a game . More specifically: an ICD-10 Rube Goldberg-style game . To win, you have to scurry through a series of stages without getting caught in costly traps. But what happens when you find yourself at the mercy of the swiftly-turning plastic crank? Before you know it, the cage has lowered and you’re out of the game —forever separated from your cheddar. Okay, so ICD-10 isn’t a game of zany action on a crazy …

  • Last Legs: The Compliance Vulnerabilities of Dead or Dying Software Image

    articleOct 24, 2016 | 5 min. read

    Last Legs: The Compliance Vulnerabilities of Dead or Dying Software

    Rusty mechanical equipment. Creaky carnival rides. Wobbly chairs. People are naturally skeptical of things that are dilapidated, rundown, or slipshod—and with good reason. After all, that which is ramshackle usually isn’t reliable. Now, imagine it’s the physical therapy software you use everyday to run your rehab therapy practice that’s gone derelict. Take PTOS EMR, for example , because if you didn’t know, this therapy office software is going out of business, and it has ceased all updates …

  • ICD-10 Crash Course: Last-Minute Training for PTs, OTs, and SLPs Image

    webinarSep 2, 2015

    ICD-10 Crash Course: Last-Minute Training for PTs, OTs, and SLPs

    It’s officially here: the last month before all HIPAA-eligible professionals must switch to the ICD-10 code set. As the regret of procrastination washes over many of those professionals, they’re scrambling to ready themselves and their practices for the big switch. If you, like so many other rehab therapists, find yourself asking, “ICD-what?” then you’re in dire need of straightforward training—stat! Otherwise, you could leave your practice vulnerable to claim denials after October 1. Join us at 9:00 …

  • The Ultimate ICD-10 FAQ: Part Deux Image

    articleSep 24, 2015 | 16 min. read

    The Ultimate ICD-10 FAQ: Part Deux

    Just when we thought we’d gotten every ICD-10 question under the sun, we got, well, more questions. Like, a lot more. But, we take that as a good sign, because like a scrappy reporter trying to get to the bottom of a big story, our audience of blog readers and webinar attendees aren’t afraid to ask the tough questions—which means they’re serious about preparing themselves for the changes ahead. And we’re equally serious about providing them with …

  • ICD-10 Open Forum Image

    webinarOct 5, 2015

    ICD-10 Open Forum

    On October 1, the US officially said RIP to ICD-9 and brought ICD-10 to life. For some of you, the transition might’ve been all sugar and spice—a real treat. But for many others, the switch to the new code set might’ve left you feeling overwhelmed, tricked, or even a bit scared. At the very least, you might be haunted by some lingering questions. That’s where we can help. We’ve brewed a cauldron filled to the brim with …

  • How to Test ICD-10 Internally Image

    articleApr 28, 2014 | 4 min. read

    How to Test ICD-10 Internally

    ICD-10 is coming—as of now, it’s slated for 2015. But just because it’s been delayed doesn’t mean you should delay your testing plans. Today, we’ll discuss how to test ICD-10 internally (and tomorrow, we’ll tackle testing externally). In this article , Brooke Andrus wrote about Advanced MD ’s testing plan, which includes testing to ensure that: Your staff can competently use the new codes. Each redesigned process or workflow actually works. But before you begin, you should …

  • Founder Letter: It’s a Brave New ICD-10 World Image

    articleOct 7, 2015 | 4 min. read

    Founder Letter: It’s a Brave New ICD-10 World

    October 1—the day that marked the transition to ICD-10—is behind us; we made it. And so far, so good. According to this Modern Healthcare article : “One of the most maligned and feared events in healthcare history began with a whimper.” Although ICD-Day has come and gone, it’s prudent to remember that a “whimper” of an introduction doesn’t necessarily indicate what’s to come. That’s because many of ICD-10’s repercussions have yet to reveal themselves—especially when it comes …

  • A Farewell Ode to ICD-9 Image

    articleSep 30, 2015 | 2 min. read

    A Farewell Ode to ICD-9

    As the hours count down It’s hard to believe That we’ve finally made it To ICD-10 Eve Our journey to get here Hasn’t been without strife As the US has clung To ICD-9 for dear life Letting go can be hard And change can be tough But in the modern medical world ICD-9 just isn’t enough Unlike a fine wine That gets better with time ICD-9 has aged poorly— It’s way past its prime Sure, we’ll always …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.