Contrary to what many in the health IT industry think, National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari said he does not see the transition to ICD-10 as disruptive to the Meaningful Use process.

Instead, Mostashari said in a recent interview with Healthcare IT News, he believes that ICD-10 can serve as a motivation of sorts for providers moving forward with EHR implementation.

“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,” he said.

Still, Mostashari said he thinks there’s “money to be made” by vendors who can help ease the ICD-10 transition for frustrated providers. He said that he envisions companies creating tools that can help providers avoid having to remember thousands of codes by instead suggesting a handful of codes to use, depending on a given scenario.

“Anything that eases the burden on frontline clinicians for documentation and coding,” Mostashari said. “Those are the kinds of tools I’m thinking of and I’m sure the market will think of many more.”

Mostashari’s belief that the ICD-10 and Meaningful Use efforts can be synergistic differs from opinions expressed last month by the College of Healthcare Information Executives, which called for a one-year extension of Meaningful Use Stage 2. CHIME CEO Russell Branzell, in a phone conversation with FierceHealthIT, cited ICD-10 as one of several factors in its request.

Additionally, Marc Probst, CIO at Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare told FierceHealthIT in March that an overlap with interoperability challenges has made ICD-10 a particularly grueling process for hospital CIOs, like himself.

“I feel for [CIOs] … because I get to live the dream,” he said. “ICD-10 is massive. … It’s a lot of effort and a lot of risk.”


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