The Smart Medical Practice

Dr. Joel C. Robertson, MD. Weighs In On ICD-10’s Benefits Versus Costs


Dr. Joel C. Robertson is the founder and CEO of Robertson Health, a multi-faceted organization dedicated to making a lasting impact on healthcare around the world through a network of for-profit and non-profit organizations.

He’s written 10 books including “Peak Performance Living” and “Natural Prozac” and served as a consultant to Fortune 500 executives and professional athletes for brain chemistry and performance enhancement. Robertson’s an expert in global medicine and medicine software development as well as informatics and behavioral medicine.

We recently asked him for feedback about ICD-10. Here’s what he had to share with us:

 

It’s been several months since ICD-10. Has it been effective?

I think the classification is a good start to a very complex issue, but as with all of these types of issues, it will need some further refinement.

 

There are some practices that have been finding the transition to ICD-10 to be challenging. Has it been more or less turbulent than you expected? Why?

Since we were early adopters, it has not been too difficult for us. We were working with it over the past three years so we had a lot of experience.

 

Do you have any stories about your transition to ICD-10? (Billing issues, patient issues, etc.)

We are an international company so we are finding some of the new countries want to move to ICD-10 and certainly know they need to, but they fear it may not be regionalized enough.

 

Can you list one advantage and one disadvantage of ICD-10 so far?

I think the greatest advantage is the ability to narrow down a disease into a more specific subtype. I think the huge disadvantage is the cost to train staff on the use of the system.

 

What insurance payers seem to be the most prepared for ICD-10?

Since we are grant and funding based, we don’t have much interaction with insurance payers.

 

If you could say anything to Medicare, what would you say?

Again, we don’t deal directly with Medicare.

 

Are there any procedures you can bill under ICD-10 that you couldn’t bill under ICD-9?

We aren’t a direct bill.

 

How has your medical practice trained staff for ICD-10? Do you have any lessons you can share with our readers?

Our medical staff has had to integrate the new diagnostics into our clinical decision support software. Their training has been in getting the details and the nomenclature mapped correctly. Overall, our team is much more satisfied that we will have a more precise system that will better fit the patient.

 

Does ICD-10 ultimately benefit the patient? Why or why not?

From our research perspective we think this will be very important for patient care, mostly in getting the right medication into a specific disease type.

 

In the end, do you think ICD-10 will be an improvement for your practice? Why or why not?

I think it is moving in the right direction. As strong proponents and deliverers of precision-based medicine, we feel this upgrade will help to more accurately tie in diagnosis, treatment and predictive risks.

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