Saturday, February 14, 2015

Disingenuous study underestimates costs of switch to physicians

A recent study published in the Journal of the Healthcare Information Management Association (JAHIMA) estimates the cost of the switch to ICD-10 at $8,167 per physician practice.  Per the study's authors: The ICD-10 expenditures reported in this survey and the two other recent studies are dramatically lower than the $22,560- $105,506 estimate for a small practice in an earlier study commissioned by the American Medical Association (AMA).

However, the JAHIMA study is not comparable to the Nachimson Advisor's study (warning: PDF) they cite, commissioned by the AMA.  The Nachimson Advisor's study did estimate a range of costs from $22,560 to $105,506 per practice.

However, the JAHIMA study did account for all the categories of costs that the Nachimson study did.  Both studies accounted for costs prior to the switch: manuals, ICD-10 documentation, software upgrades, training of physicians and office staff, and so on.

The JAHIMA study did not account for costs predicted to occur after the switch.  These costs include increased documentation costs and cash flow disruption.  Nachimson estimates these costs at $63,500 for a small practice, which far outweigh and dominate the pre-switch costs listed above.

Because the JAHIMA study ignored these costs, it is not comparable to Nachimson nor the true cost of the switch.

The cost of the switch will indeed outweigh its benefits.  Let's stop the switch!

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