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Do Impending Cancer Registry Changes Remind You of ICD-10? They Should

Blog - Physician Query (1)-2We’ve already written over the past year about expected changes to the Cancer Registry– and how extensive they are likely to be. No doubt – this is a big deal. Remember the shift from ICD-9 to ICD-10? The Cancer Registry changes are a lot like that – but with an even more profound impact on hospital workload and productivity. 

For instance, key manuals have been updated with the new, available information as of August 2018. However, related software updates are still pending – and may not be available before November. Until the registry’s new data fields are in the software, state facilities will not be able to complete full abstracts for cases.

AHIMA affirms that healthcare organizations that aggressively engaged in preparation, staffing and education efforts tended to fare well when moving to ICD-10. The lesson, therefore, is that hospitals must take steps to keep their workload up to date once changes to the Cancer Registry are finalized. Here’s how:

  1. Get Prepared
    Just as the shift to ICD-10 faced implementation delays, finalization of the 2018 Cancer Registry changes has been slower than expected. This uncertainty is driving anxiety and frustration within the industry. That’s why it’s essential to be well informed about pending changes – and when they will take effect.Likewise, it’s time to assess your registry and determine how 2018 changes will impact individual hospital departments. Note: himagine can provide assessment assistance in multiple ways; please contact us for information about how we can support yours.
  1. Get Staffed
    Once again, history provides key lessons.  According to the Healthcare Coding Assessment conducted by Parthenon/E&Y in May 2017, the need for outsourced coding support rose by nearly 10 percent in the early days of ICD-10. Three years later, the need to outsource coding talent is still higher than it was before the transition. So, heading into a similar Cancer Registry transition, ask yourself:
  • How will the upcoming changes affect registrars’ productivity?
  • How will this affect our staffing needs?
  • Will we be able to keep up with demand for critical, current cancer registry information?

If the answers to these questions indicate a potential hit to staff productivity, consider working with an outsourcing consultant who can offer scalable support of remote Certified Tumor Registrars (CTRs) on an as-needed basis. 

  1. Get Educated
    It’s hard to forget the intense levels of education that both coders and providers needed in advance of the ICD-10 transition. Successful organizations began preparing in 2012 for the original October 2014 cutover. And the rush to educate those who waited was intense during the extension period leading up to the actual transition one year later. With this in mind, both CTRs and providers should take advantage of key educational opportunities, including:

Delays finalizing changes to the Cancer Registry may suggest that there’s plenty of time to adapt and keep your workload up to date. However, we only have to look back to the ICD-10 changes of 2015 to recognize that today’s delays present an opportunity. The time is now to avoid hits to productivity and ensure readiness.

Topics: Cancer Registry