20 Questions for System Vendors

As healthcare organizations work through their systems inventory—identifying the IT systems, modules, and interfaces that will be affected by the upgrade to ICD-10-CM/PCS—a question hangs over each entry they make on the list: when will upgrades be available from the vendor?

The dependency weighs heavily on ICD-10 planning teams, who cannot control the upgrades but can be proactive in communicating with their vendors.

The following 20 questions help organizations identify and plan for how and when their vendors will handle system upgrades. AHIMA offers these questions with an accompanying, customizable cover letter in the “ICD-10 Vendor Questionnaire” available on its ICD-10 resources page.

Do you have questions to add, observations to share? Comment at the end of the list!

Vendor Readiness Questionnaire
  1. Provide a brief description of how you plan to accommodate the ICD-10-CM and/or ICD-10-PCS code sets in your application(s) (for example, what modifications are expected in screen and reporting formats? How will compatibility be achieved- merely accept and store ICD10 codes, or ICD10 processing/analysis capability?)
  2. Specify whether or not the application(s) can accommodate both the ICD-10-CM/PCS and ICD-9-CM code sets in a dual use testing strategy.
  3. Specify whether or not the application(s) can support dual use of the ICD-10-CM/PCS and ICD-9-CM code sets after implementation. How long do you anticipate dual use can be supported? Is this addressed in the contract? Is additional support needed?
  4. Specify how the ICD-9-CM codes can be disabled for dates of service after October 1, 2013, while remaining enabled for earlier dates of service. Also, how will ICD-9-CM legacy data be accommodated?
  5. Specify how this ICD-10-CM/PCS compatible application version can handle ICD-9-CM codes interfaced with other applications (for example, will ICD-9-CM codes be cross-walked to ICD-10-CM or ICD-10-PCS codes?).
  6. Specify how you intend to support testing of interfaces.
  7. Do interface assessment and modifications require an additional cost? If so, what is the cost structure, and when is the cost incurred?
  8. List all the steps the facility must perform to test and implement the ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS code sets in this application.
  9. Specify hardware requirements for the ICD-10-CM/PCS-compatible application (for example, is additional hardware needed for the upgrade or replacement? Is hardware required for testing?)
  10. Specify the date the ICD-10-CM/PCS compatible application is available for testing.
  11. What customer support and training can be provided for the new version of the application?
  12. Specify the earliest date a current software version can be upgraded to accommodate the ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS code sets.
  13. What is the contingency plan if this application is not ready for go-live on October 1, 2013?
  14. Specify how long it will take to implement the ICD-10-CM/PCS compatible version.
  15. Attach your proposed project schedule for testing, implementing, and training on the compatible version and for supporting ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS code sets.
  16. Specify recommended resources necessary to upgrade the current software version to comply with the ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS code sets
  17. If you recommend additional resources, please indicate which ones are available to assist with the application upgrade (for example, third party contractors and consultants).
  18. Indicate the cost estimate for the system modifications to be completed.
  19. Does the cost estimate include additional maintenance fees? If not, what are the additional maintenance fees?
  20. Must a contract addendum be signed before work on the system modifications? If so, what are the terms of the contract addendum?

1 Comment

  1. Item # 4 states: “Specify how the ICD-9-CM codes can be disabled for dates of service after October 1, 2013, while remaining enabled for earlier dates of service. ”

    ICD-9-CM should not be idsabled after October 1, 2013 as many carriers are not HIPAA covered entities and as such may not convert to ICD-10. These non-covered entities include state run programs (Medicaid and Workers Comp) that may not be able to afford to convert, or perhaps auto insurance companies. It is common belief that the systems will need to dual code for a period of time to allow for those entities to have the time and find the funding to convert. True?

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