Editor’s Note: The following article is the second installment of a three-part series on ICD-10 readiness. The series aims to help healthcare providers ensure that their vendor partners are fully prepared to comply with the implementation timeline and requirements around ICD-10 conversion.

Part II: Design and Implementation Phases

In October 2014 healthcare providers will be required to migrate from ICD-9 to ICD-10. Your hospital or physician group may already be well into planning your conversion. But will your vendor partners be ready?

In Part I of this series yesterday, we examined how your vendor community should be engaged during the Preliminary and Assessment phases of your ICD-10 Migration Project. In this article, we will examine the vendor role in the next phase, Design and Implementation.

Now that you have identified your financial risk, budget, systems, people, and processes you will need to complete this project, you need to plan how you intend communicate with all the stakeholders about what they can expect, be it training, new workflows, operation interruptions — every possible impact. This is another area where vendors are frequently overlooked. Your external partners will require a communications channel specifically targeted for them throughout the life of the project.


During the design segment of the phase you will be selecting new technology required to implement the project and identifying those business processes that will change upon implementation. It is critical to examine business processes end-to-end, including the hand-off to your vendor partners.

Once you’ve identified those new business processes, you must develop a training plan for your internal resources to migrate them to the new workflow.  Because ICD-10 is far more complex than ICD-9, your staff will require considerable training. The same can be expected of your vendor partners. Therefore confirming with your vendors their training plans becomes a critical piece of your ongoing due diligence to make certain they will be ready when Oct. 1, 2014, arrives.


At the end of this phase you will implement any new technology or at least a test version of that technology. While vendors probably will play little role in this phase, they may provide a good resource should you run into issues. If one or more of your vendor partners are building parallel or complementary systems that will integrate with yours, they may have encountered similar issues and, if you’re lucky, figured out how to resolve them.

Previously: PART I: Project Initiation and Assessment

Next: Testing, Go-Live, and Evaluation


Chuck Seviour has over 40 years of healthcare industry experience ranging from Director of Business Office Operations for a large health system to consulting with over 150 hospitals as a healthcare consultant for a major accounting firm. Chuck has been Vice President of Revenue Cycle for Array Services Group since 2004.

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