What is Organizational Culture?

What is organizational culture? According to the business dictionary, organizational culture is the values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization.  In this article, I will focus on several conversations with many of my colleagues whose organizations have embarked on what many have perceived as “judgment day” for healthcare.

orgcultI wanted to share some of these conversations in hopes that it would shed some light on how the impact of moving from the ICD-9-CM coding platform to the ICD-10-CM/PCS platform has impacted organizational cultures within many organizations. This article does not seek to single out or lay blame on any one organization’s culture over another. It is intended to provoke thought as well as an open and honest dialogue.

One colleague shared that the organization they worked for “is crazy and they make me crazy.” They want everyone to learn this “ICD-10 crap” and they have not even started to do anything yet. ICD-10 implementation is right around the corner. What am I going to do?

Another colleague shared that the organization they worked for was ready for the ICD-10 implementation and they were looking forward to the change. Their organization had been preparing for ICD-10 for the past several years. Their systems were in place, they tested with multiple payers, and they surpassed what was required for meaningful use. This organization is a well-oiled machine, ready for action.

How does one organizational culture differ from the other? It would appear based on the above-shared discussions that there are some staff that would tend to mimic the demonstrated behavior of the organization that they work for. They also might tend to lean towards and value the same things that the organization values. Some might express growing frustration outwardly, while other just keep it inside.

With one ICD-10 delay behind us, there was an intervention by Congress, ordering the agency with regulatory oversight (CMS) to mandate the ICD-10 implementation date to “halt,” there is to be no enforcement date for the implementation of ICD-10 prior to October 1, 2015 (a second delay).

Are there any the winners here? Are there any losers? Was there any organization infighting or external fighting that contributed to the delay? Was congress the scapegoat? What is the perceived message? What impact does this type of message have on organizational culture? What type of picture does this represent and how does one frame it?  The norm is that everyone has ten (10) fingers. Were all the fingers pointing and playing the blame game?  Where does one go from here?

Please share your thoughts and feedback with me, and look for some of the feedback received to appear in the next article.

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Phyllis Miller

Dr. Phyllis Miller’s health information experience spans over 17 years and includes: HIM, Allied Health Education, ICD-10 Training/Consulting, Project Management and other supervisory and/or senior consulting roles. She continues to serve as an adjunct HIM/HIT instructor and mentor, previously serving as a board member for the Big Sisters Organization. She has most recently been actively involved with the design and successful implementation of several HIM/HIT ICD-9/ICD-10 Coding Apprentice Programs. Dr. Miller has served on multiple healthcare committees and has extensive experience conducting educational workshops, seminars as well as leading project management initiatives. View all posts by Phyllis Miller

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