Like most health care providers, Ardent Health Services and its 13 hospitals were preparing for the nationwide transition to ICD-10, a new system of codes used to describe medical services provided by doctors and hospitals. Set to go live October 2014, the transition affected a broad cross-section of health care workers and physicians – requiring a massive training effort to ensure that claims are accurately coded and submitted. Because failure to comply with the new system could have cost providers millions in delayed or missed payments, Ardent needed to engage its 12,000 employees and nearly 3,000 physicians around the importance of this initiative and ensure they completed training.
Strategy & Tactics
With a host of other initiatives competing for stakeholders’ attention, Lovell worked with Ardent’s ICD-10 implementation team to take a creative approach to raising awareness – branding the initiative “Pathfinder: The Journey to ICD-10.” A road trip-themed website was created to serve as the hub for all communication and training activities. In addition to providing in-depth information and resources for each affected audience, the site used bright colors and imagery, Top 5 lists, Fun Facts and other lighthearted features to capture visitors’ attention. Because ICD-10 affected a wide range of audiences who prefer to receive information in different ways, a variety of Pathfinder-branded communication channels – including email, posters, and videos – were used to drive site traffic and reinforce messages. Additionally, hospitals were provided with communications toolkits and printed materials ranging from general FAQs to role-based training plans to help demystify ICD-10 and explain its impact on everyone from coders and billers to nurses and physicians.
Months prior to full implementation, Ardent engaged employees and physicians around this important initiative. Website traffic and trainings grew steadily each month. According to Kevin Gwin, Ardent’s VP of Communications, “Lovell and our team brought a fresh approach to what could have been just another training initiative. While many other providers struggled to prepare for this monumental change, we were well positioned for a smooth training and implementation period, which was key to our hospitals’ continued financial stability.”