And the #AHIMACon12 Winner Is …

… ICD-10 by a landslide. For those of you wondering whether “upcoding” might just steal 10’s thunder, it wasn’t meant to be. Providers and vendors alike brushed aside the phrase – some with a shrug of the shoulders, others with a roll of the eyes, and some with a “What did you expect?” The general consensus I gathered on the show floor was that technology such as electronic medical records enables doctors to code more accurately – not fraudulently. Everyone agreed that paper-based processes have for years resulted in doctors under-coding, and now that technology and workplace culture have caught up, those same doctors are finding it more efficient to code accurately, thus leading to more accurate, i.e. higher, reimbursement.

Speaking of reimbursement, John mentioned in a recent blog that ICD-10 is on the list when it comes to Top 5 Revenue Cycle Management Issues, and I couldn’t agree more. Talking with vendors and their physician customers at the show brought home to me just how fine a line providers walk when it comes to coding and revenue. As we move closer to Oct. 1, 2014, and the final push towards ICD-10, I am eager to see how these more granular, accurate codes play out in the revenue space. If a doctor codes more accurately in 10 (and hopefully provides quality care at the same time), and as a result sees higher reimbursements, will this somehow turn into a price increase that will trickle down to patients through payers? Where will the touted cost-effectiveness really come in? At any rate, I am definitely seeing the cause and effect relationship between coding and revenue more clearly as the ICD-10 deadline draws near.

ICD-10 was the focus of the only educational session I was able to attend, and it was well worth the time. “The Good, the Bad and the Reality: Lessons from the Frontlines of ICD-10 Implementation” featured the stories of Sutter Health, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Deloitte Consulting. Both Danielle Reno from Sutter Health and Gary Perrizo from VUMC stressed strategy, education and testing in the run up to 2014. I got the impression from them and the physicians in the audience with me that though everyone is grateful for the extra time to make the switch, no one should be taking the time for granted. “Lollygagging” as I tell my children, is not advisable.

As you probably know by now, I’m a big fan of social media in the healthcare space, and I was very impressed with the efforts the AHIMA team took to incorporate social networking into just about everything – especially compared to last year. The attendees at AHIMA seem more like a Facebook crowd, and that was indeed the sentiment I heard from several vendors. That being said, I do think the tweet stream was more active than last year, probably due in large part to the @AHIMAResources team taking a proactive approach to socially marketing the event. I hear that next year (the event will be in my hometown of Atlanta) we’ll see the hashtag on all the slide presentations, which may encourage attendees to get in on the tweeting action.

Overall it was a fun, educational first trip to Chicago and second trip to AHIMA. (You can check out some of the more memorable images from the show below.) Seeing the sun rise and set over Lake Michigan in early Fall was a real treat. I hope that Atlanta will have equally spectacular vistas to offer next year.

AHIMA 2013 will take place in Atlanta Oct. 26-30.
This book caught my eye on the show floor. Anyone read it yet?
This picture does no justice to the spectacular views I had from the 95th floor of Chicago’s John Hancock building, thanks to the fun folks at Healthport.
The Precyse team flew a special member in just for the show.
The Friedman Marketing group was nice enough to hold another tweetup after show hours.

My coworkers presented me with a lovely birthday balloon bouquet from one of the two balloon artists on the show floor.

About the author

Jennifer Dennard

Jennifer Dennard

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.