3 Tips: ICD-10's Impact on Cancer Registry

Posted by DCleveland

imagesMedical coders are not the only HIM professionals preparing for vast changes with the implementation of ICD-10 come October 1, 2015.  Cancer registry departments will also experience radical changes in the wake of ICD-10.

The exact impact on productivity, as it is related to ICD-10, is at this time unknown.  Some experts estimate that hospitals could experience as much as a 50% drop in coding productivity (Eramo, 2014) immediately following the transition.  The impact of reduced coding productivity will create a lag in casefinding which will result in a backlog for cancer registrars.  While the CoC no longer has a timeliness rule, this could directly impact RQRS which, for the most part, is concurrent abstracting.  In addition, state registries may see a decline in the number of cases reported initially with a steep rise once hospital registries accommodate the backlog.

With sudden and sweeping changes in the industry, many administrators find it challenging to overcome these obstacles without help from an outsourcing provider who can equip the facility with qualified professionals who are ready to address the increasing complexities brought on by ICD-10 and its requirements.

As discussed in one of our earlier blog posts, Cancer Registrars preform very important work.  By abstracting cancer-related information from medical records and reporting data to state cancer registries, registrars help track the dispersion and treatment of cancer.  When tracked nationally, this information is used to establish accreditation and hospital quality reviews.  With such important work being performed on a national scale, it’s understandable how delays in proper coding and reporting can have lasting impacts on discussions and innovations in cancer related care.

In addition to addressing challenges brought on by a decrease in coding productivity, why else might your organization decide to work with an outsourcing provider to support your Cancer Registry Program?

1. Outsource vendors can help organizations find the right people. Over the past year hospitals and facilities have made enormous investments in hiring coding talent to prepare for ICD-10.  Administrators knows the difficulty in finding and retaining certified professionals when it comes to coding.  When it comes to Cancer Registry, those challenges are even greater.  Not only is the pool of cancer registrars much smaller, when it comes to finding the most qualified candidates the odds become synonymous with finding a needle in a haystack.  At the time of this publication, there are less than 40 CoC trained consultants in the entire country.

Look for an outsource provider that can connect your organization with top talent by employing and attracting the most qualified individuals.  You will be able to get the greatest expertise in the field without the complicated hunt for talent.

2. Outsource providers can help organizations predict and regulate financial costs.  Working with an outsourcing provider affords a number of benefits; one of which is a breadth of experience. Because outsourcing providers work with multiple clients, they have insight into cancer registry programs of various sizes and complexities.  The best outsourcing providers use the experience of their staff to provide insight on where registries can reduce costs and consolidate cancer registry functions across the health system.  In addition, organizations benefit from contractually obligated retention and quality standards leaving the guesswork out of the hidden costs of operating the registry.

When choosing an outsource provider, be sure you walk away with a clear understanding of cost and productivity standards.  Ask the outsource vendor in question how they manage vacancies and whether they have a plan for swiftly backfilling employees if needed.

3. The best providers can help provide organizations with a strategic plan for success.  It’s important that organizations plan for future innovations in cancer care and their effect on registry standards.  The best outsourcing vendors help organizations improve the delivery of care in addition to improving reporting and tracking.  The best outsourcing providers also assist with the processes for applying and re-applying for CoC accreditation.  Qualified outsource vendors can guide an organization through the process by helping them to develop a cancer registry, form a cancer committee, perform a pre-survey consultative visit, and work with a qualified CoC.  Outsource vendors can provide detailed reports with their findings giving organizations insight into where they thrive and where more support and resources are needed.

When choosing an outsource vendor, look for a vendor with an established reporting system.  Be sure to discuss the goals of your registry in depth so that the outsourcing vendor can create a customized plan based on the goals of your organization.

Outsourcing vendors can provide numerous benefits to established and up-and-coming cancer registry programs.  There is only a short amount of time before ICD-10 will be implemented and it is important that cancer registrars prepare for the impending impact of the industry wide change.  The good news is that there is still time to learn, prepare, and be ready for the big wave that will impact cancer registries nationwide. What changes do you expect your cancer registry to encounter with the implementation of ICD-10?  How do you plan to overcome them?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  You can also learn more about registry solutions from himagine solutions.


"Warning: Productivity Loss Ahead", By Lisa A. Eramo , For The Record, Vol. 26 No. 2 P. 10

Topics: Outsourcing