The shift to the complex ICD-10 coding system has been looming over hospitals and physicians like a dark storm cloud since it was first announced. The recent Healthcare Business article titled, Looming Shift to More Complex ICD-10 Coding System Has Hospitals and Physicians Scrambling, examines the upcoming conversion to the confusing, consuming and expensive ICD-10.

Now less than a year away, the impending shift has generated not only a lot of stress and anxiety, it has also created multiple problems. Time consuming and expensive staff training will cost not-for-profit hospitals and clinics inestimable amounts of money as they struggle to teach experienced and inexperienced individuals the basics of the system before the Oct. 1, 2015 transition date.

After already being twice postponed, what has been compared to a second healthcare Y2K is unlikely to be delayed yet again, and now hospitals are expected to devote hundreds of hours and financial investments in IT resources in preparation for the shift to ICD-10 coding.

As Charlene Webber-Schuss, Chief Information Officer at Community Hospital on California’s Monterey Peninsula states, “We’re concerned about a lot of the community practices.” If the doctors’ documentation is inadequate, we (and they) will suffer lost revenue.”

The post-adoption financial consequences are another worry thousands of providers are facing. Hospital officials and physicians fear declined productivity resulting in revenue losses from bad documentation, and rejected claims because of improper coding.
But what if there was a solution that could simplify the shift to ICD-10 saving hospitals time and money? A California based smart data company, SyTrue, has created the new standard for data driven health. SyTrue‘s platform as a service (Paas), turns unstructured (and structured) information into semantically interoperable content that can be leveraged to automate ICD-10 clinical coding. SyTrue’s e-Abstraction technology is 15 times faster and more accurate than human abstraction. The technology seamlessly integrates and structures disparate information to produce a longitudinal and comprehensive view of the patient population. SyTrue’s solution not only eliminates the confusion factor but it also gives providers new insight on how to improve care and generate revenue.

Supporters of ICD-10 say the coding system will allow providers to keep track of patient care and organize data to perform quality-improvement analysis, a feat that already exists with SyTrue’s platform. SyTrue is currently helping reinvent clinical documentation as it already exists and continues to evolve, while creating new expectations around data usability and interoperability.

In comparison to Computer Assisted Coding (CAC) ICD-10 systems, the technology that SyTrue possesses extends far past the network of hospitals and physicians. This platform stands to also positively impact and aid the daily lives of clinical researchers and pharmaceutical companies by helping them mine their multi-sourced clinical data, and create records of patient populations, accessible and usable in seconds. With all this at their fingertips, physician groups stand to make money by wasting less time.

With all the chaos surrounding ICD-10 compliance we hope hospitals everywhere are able to find solutions like the one SyTrue provides to make the October 1, 2014 deadline one that will turn the costly transition into one that will generate revenue and improve care.

In a recent commentary published in National Journal, venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, predicted that as much as 80 percent of a doctor’s job could be replaced by computers in the decades ahead. Contrary to this, the news story, Technology in Healthcare: Why Docs Shouldn’t Feel Threatened, argues that the split in duties will more than likely be equal stating that the need for doctors is just as necessary as the demand for technology.

Tools such as clinical decision support software, as commentary author Darius Tahir points out, is proof that technology is valuable and important in helping doctors provide their patients with quality care but not eliminate it altogether.

While it’s true that technology assists doctors and treatment efforts, the patient and doctor relationship can never be replaced or forged. It is often this relationship that is one of the biggest contributing factors in a patient’s recovery and the idea that computers will ultimately replace the physical care of a physician, or even the majority of it, is hard to compute.

A patient’s journey to health is comprised of multiple influences ranging from family support systems to positive thinking, but one of the most powerful is their relationship with their doctor. The honest and trusting relationship that forms between a patient and physician and network of nurses during treatment is a precious resource that costs nothing beyond time and effort. This human connection cannot be paralleled by any technology and is why computers will never be able to fully eliminate patients’ innate desire to trust in and be cared for by doctors.

Hospitals’ staff give a patient an invaluable tool during treatment: compassion. Compassion is one of medicine’s most underestimated and overlooked resources and will never be substituted by any software. A common phrase comes to mind; just because you can doesn’t mean you should, meaning that just because a computer can or could do a doctor’s job does not mean that it should. In line with the Fierce Health IT article, physicians should not feel threatened by technology because it will never have the ability to feel, empathize or care for a patient on a human level.

Despite rapidly developing medical technology, we are still eons away from computers being able to mimic human emotion. Doctors spend weeks, months and years forming valuable relationships with their patients and it is these connections that empower the healthcare community. For further reading on why doctors should not feel threatened by technology, please refer to the original article posted on Fierce Health IT.

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