The deadline to start using ICD-10 is looming and many doctors are worried about what it is going to mean for their practices. They are wondering how time-consuming and costly it is going to be to implement.
Well, they are in luck because there is a new resource available and it’s free. ICD-10 Charts provides software that converts ICD-9 codes into the appropriate ICD-10 codes. The site also offers online training that can be customized to a particular practice, depending on specialty (e.g., internal medicine vs. general surgery, and so on).
Amazingly, the company does all of this for free. Even more astonishing is that these tools were developed by a pre-med, Parth Desai, who is now a medical student at Mercer University, and his friend Will Pattiz, a “tech whiz, outdoor enthusiast, and filmmaker.”
Here’s the back story
Before going to medical school, Parth Desai took a gap year to help his mom manage his dad’s small internal medicine practice in Columbus, Georgia. She was worried about how she was going to handle the looming transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10. Parth said he would help her out.
He looked at different consultants and programs, but they were all too complicated, too expensive, or both. He also looked at a number of different ICD-10 training programs but didn’t really find anything that he thought was good enough. He wanted help with code conversions, but everything he saw was slow, required additional personnel, or was too costly.
When you can’t find it, build it
So, Parth did what lots of entrepreneurs do, he decided to build what he needed himself. He enlisted Will, his former college roommate, to help him. Together, they developed the software that automates the conversion of ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes.
Once they completed the task, they decided they shouldn’t limit the use of the software to just Parth’s dad’s practice. So, they spent some more time cleaning it up and making it pretty.
It is now available online at ICD10Charts.com. It’s free to any doctor in the country who wants to use it and ready in plenty of time for practices to get ready for the October 1, 2015 deadline for compliance with the required conversion.
Why not start a business?
I asked Parth why he didn’t turn ICD-10 Charts into a for-profit business—after all, he had already found out that there are consultants and companies who view the conversion requirement as a goldmine. He said he grew up working in his family’s practice and he wanted to do something for solo docs and small practices. His plan, after training, is to go into practice with his dad and brother after he completes his training.
Exploring the site
I had a chance to spend some time on the ICD-10 Charts’ site and found that overall everything worked as it was supposed to and it was easy to use. Parth and Will also designed an ICD-9 to ICD-10 conversion training course that is, again, free for anyone who wants to take it. After receiving funding from the non-profit physician advocate group, The Physicians Foundation, they were able to expand the original course into what they call, the ICD-10 Charts Training Academy. According to their website:
“The training portal includes a total of over 15 hours of comprehensive ICD-10 training, consisting of custom-tailored ICD-10 courses for every different medical specialty, to create a personalized learning experience for [a] practice. Each training module was built by a team of ICD1- experts and engineers, using the most state-of-the-art eLearning software in the industry.”
How accurate are the code conversions?
Although I cannot personally vouch for the accuracy of the code conversions, Parth tells me,
“The ICD-9 to ICD-10 code conversions were not made by us. We used the official code conversions that were provided to us by CMS. Further, we are using the data with an educational license from the World Health Organization (WHO). The conversions are identical to the code conversions used by every single other ICD-10 vendor because as part of all of our license agreements with the WHO, nobody is allowed to alter the ICD-10 diagnosis codes used in their software.”
What about usability?
As far as user testing goes, Parth says his dad has already used the software successfully to implement ICD-10 in his practice. Thanks to his classmates at Mercer, the company was able to test the usability of the software in more than 5,000 practices in the state of Georgia.
ICD-10 Charts currently has over 12,000 other practices throughout the country using the site, and they are growing at a rate of ~7000 new users per day. Parth and Will continue to make changes and additions to the site regularly based on user feedback
It’s about more than software
What I love about this story is that it is about so much more than just the software and a training course. It is about a young man (and his friend) who saw a problem, designed a solution, and gave it away for free—all before one of them went to medical school. Parth and Will, my hat is off to you.
Watch the video:
I had a chance to chat with Parth on a Google Hangout in between his classes. Watch it to learn more about Parth and ICD-10 Charts: