Legislation signed by President Obama April 1, delayed implementation of ICD_10 (International Classification of Diseases-10th Revision) until October 2015, giving healthcare providers a full year’s reprieve – and breathing room.

The delay, however, does not mean that ICD-10 will not be implemented. The system is currently in use in more than 100 countries, and with the U.S. as one of the last countries to get on board, implementation is nearly inevitable.

Savvy healthcare providers will be wise not to waste the additional time that has been provided. Rather, they will use it to improve quality and success in implementation strategies. Here are a few points to get started:

Examine contracts and relationships.

The delay may require extension of certain contracts and systems set to expire in October 2014. Review current and proposed contracts to determine which need to be extended and which need to be deferred until actual ICD-10 implementation.

Improve Training.

Lack of adequate training time has been repeatedly cited as a reason to delay implementation. Use the additional year to conduct more training and to develop robust, in-house training capacity.

Troubleshoot.

Conduct a more detailed, enterprise-wide-analysis than you had time for prior to the delay. With a view toward identification and correction of problems that could impede implementation, your organization will undoubtedly uncover issues and patterns that may currently exist in billing and coding practices long before implementation.

Bullet-proof systems.

The additional year can be used  create more sophisticated simulations that will determine organizational readiness, repeat necessary training and correct additional deficiencies before you’re faced with a cash-flow crisis.

Network.

Most of your peer organizations are in the same position as you. Use this year to establish relationships with professional organizations, trade associations and other who might share solutions for successful implementation.