Dianne Haas, Executive Director at TrustHCS shares best practices for C-Suite to manage both ICD-10 and Meaningful Use by focusing on strong leadership
When approaching Meaningful Use and ICD-10 implementation, it’s best to think of the technologies involved as only a piece of a much greater pie. It goes well beyond delegating a singular directive to those in charge of health information management (HIM). Both are multilayered processes that require collaborative efforts, with your C-suite leading the way, according to TrustHCS’ Dianne Haas.
“You have to really think about these HIM practices beyond the changes made to your technical toolset or coding,” said Haas, Executive Director, Consulting Services for the healthcare consulting firm, TrustHCS, based in Springfield, MO. “Proper implementation comes from getting everyone engaged and playing a part. Someone has to lead the troops—actually, everyone has to.”
Haas pointed to a couple of key practices required to get your C-suite on board. First, everyone has to know their role within the implementation process. Thus, establishing clear lines of communication and delegation is a paramount first step in the process. A major piece to that is recognizing that a bridge must be built between your clinical chiefs and operational/ business chiefs. Haas, who has worn both clinical and administrative hats in her own in her career, couldn’t stress that assertion enough.
“Chief Operating Officers for example, can often be a link for organizations because they often have responsibilities on both the clinical and administratively focused sides of an organization. The confluence really needs to manifest across your leadership, and then, travel down into every department. You do that by knowing your role and knowing it well and clearly defining the roles of everyone around you.”
Proper education and familiarization with new technologies, as well as data-input policies and procedures, is another important practice, according to Haas. Not only do we often think that technology implementation rests solely on the shoulders of IT and HIM, but we also think clinical adaptation to those technologies fall only on the to-do lists of Chief Medical Officers. Although it’s true the trickledown effect begins in those tops tiers, you have to build that core strength from the bottom up through proper education.
“Take tackling ICD-10 as an example,” said Haas.
“It’s not just doctors and nurses who impact and will be impacted by ICD-10. What about your lab technicians? If you expect them to code off a charge description master, you better make sure your lab, revenue cycle, and IT departments are talking to each other and planning in the same room. Every position has a place in the process. It all comes back to establishing that focus of collaborative and coordinated leadership at the senior levels of the organization. Leadership who will develop and oversee detailed plans for implementation and monitor progress toward goal as a group.”
Haas’ message seems clear. HIM is technology driven, but it only works when you have the proper parties doing the driving behind the larger effort at hand. Yes, the technology remains tremendously important, but in the end, it can only take you so far. “You need so much more to go the distance— and it starts with good top-down momentum,” Haas concluded.