The I-10 Top-10

Procrastinators are entering dangerous waters. The ICD-10-CM/PCS deadline looms a little closer each day. But facilities drifting and uncertain how to begin now have a quick reference guide to help put the wind in their sails.

A top-10 ICD-10 checklist from AHIMA highlights the 10 essential first steps organizations must take to get their transition programs well under way. The list distills the first phase of AHIMA’s larger four-part ICD-10 implementation planning and preparation checklist.

The short list, developed by AHIMA’s Clinical Terminology and Classification Practice Council, is intended to be an easily referenced list that motivates organizations beginning what will be a complex, multi-year process, says Ann Zeisset, RHIT, CCS, CCS-P, professional practice manager at AHIMA and member of the practice council.

. The list can be a conversation starter or a quick process check for organizations of all types and sizes. Phase 1 of AHIMA’s recommended approach should be completed by the second quarter of this year.The top-10 lists helps HIM professionals take a leadership role in ICD-10 and become the go-to person for their facilities’ transitions, according to Therese M. Jorwic, MPH, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P, FAHIMA. ICD-10 is one of the most sweeping changes in healthcare, and preparing can be an overwhelming task, says Jorwic, assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and product specialist at MC Strategies. In organizing the steps of this massive change, HIM professionals can begin to demonstrate a plan for managing the implementation.The top-10 list provides stepped and measurable goals across the organization, ensuring all departments stay on track to a successful completion, Jorwic says. The larger checklist contains greater detail on the process.
The First 10 Steps

The first steps of ICD-10 implementation include obtaining the support of the facility’s executive leadership, establishing a steering committee to oversee the transition, and conducting an impact assessment. The impact assessment is important because it determines the scope of the project–how much work will be necessary. No meaningful budgeting can be done until that assessment is complete.

The top-10 steps are:

  1. Ensure organizational awareness of the upcoming change
  2. Establish executive leadership to guide the transition
  3. Perform an impact assessment
  4. Conduct a systems inventory
  5. Complete gap analysis
  6. Establish internal timeline
  7. Determine plan for staff training
  8. Prepare multi-year budget
  9. Manage contractual changes for products and services
  10. Correlate continued management of version 5010 upgrade
More Resources

A free, prerecorded webinar will discuss how to use both the top-10 list and the full planning and preparation checklist. “From Point A to ICD: Successfully Implementing ICD-10” will be available April 5 on AHIMA’s ICD-10 Web page.

The transition to ICD-10 will also be a focal point of the AHIMA ICD-10 Summit, taking place April 11 and 12 in Baltimore, MD. Summit speakers and educational sessions will deliver information on implementation planning and preparation.

With the ICD-10 implementation deadline two and a half years away, procrastination can seem like an option. But it isn’t, experts say. The change to ICD-10 is so complex that organizations should already be well into conversion plans.

Still, it is never too late to start—with the top-10 List offering a place to begin, Jorwic says.

“The implementation date will be here before we know it,” according to Jorwic. “Using this lead time wisely will result in a smoother transition and a shorter learning curve, and we will be able to take advantage of the many improvements that the ICD-10-CM/PCS system will bring.”


  1. Nice information. Good resource tool to model your own project plan. Planning is the key to success with this project implementation. This will have a huge impact on everyone, no matter how big or small the organization is. Keep up the great work.

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  2. excellent work. it helps me achieve the best in my degree course,health records and information management>.keep it up

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