Testing for ICD-10 could cost big money, but failing to test could cost more, according to Mark Lott, CEO of Lott QA Group and coordinator for the HIMSS WEDI National Pilot Program.

“Don’t put off testing. Start with whatever you have,” Lott told attendees of the HIMSS Media ICD-10 Forum on June 17 at the Gaylord in National Harbor, Md. Some of the biggest health plans are out testing with big hospitals. Practices can find that data and share it with their coders. There is plenty that can be done without waiting for everything to be installed first, he said.

Lott contends that 99 percent of the industry won’t be able to test the way they would like to; it will be physically impossible. Thousands of doctors and testers are all testing in silos, testing the same cases and at multiples of the cost. The answer, Lott said, is collaboration.

Lott also emphasized the need for using real records to test. Using real records makes it a transparent process subject to peer review, and hence, a source of truth. After about 50 to 100 sets of eyes have seen it, it gets closer to the truth, he said.

“The reality of testing today is that it must reflect the real ICD-10 world,” Lott said. Dedicated end-to-end testing environments don’t exist across all trading partners. Payers will not able to process the hundreds of thousands of claims that need testing.

“What we have now is an 18-month sandbox for people to play in, to find errors and go back and fix them,” he said.

Lott’s best preparation advice: Know your own business. “You don’t need to know all the ICD-10 codes well, you just need to know the diagnoses codes for your specialty well,” he advised.


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