Sunday, January 15, 2012

ShimCode Interviews Steve Sisko about ICD-10 and Other Topics

I ShimCode (SC-Q) ran into Steve Sisko (SS-A) at the airport the other day and convinced him to do a short interview about ICD-10 and his social media presence. Here’s the unedited version:

SC-Q: Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Before we start, I just wanted to say that your picture looks way better than you do in person.

   SS-A: Uh…well thanks. After an objective assessment, I remediated it with Photoshop.

SC-Q: Ok… Moving on. What’s up with your handle ShimCode? What’s that supposed to mean?

   SS-A: Merriam Webster defines a shim as:

   "a thin often tapered piece of material (as wood, metal, or stone) used to fill in space between things (as for support, leveling, or adjustment of fit)"

   And everyone knows what software code is. So, logically, “shimcode” is a piece of software that’s jammed between things to make them compatible. I like to think of myself as someone who gets between two incompatible things to help make them compatible; primarily business people and hard core, software development-type people. It’s a holdover from my programming days of the 80’s and early 90’s

SC-Q: That’s fascinating. I notice that you tweet a lot about ICD-10 and recently started to blog about how ICD-10 impacts healthcare payers and providers. What makes you think you’re qualified to speak to this topic?

   SS-A: I’ve been working in healthcare and IT – for payers, providers, software vendors and consulting firms - for about 20 years. I worked on a team assessing how to retrofit a major COTS claims adjudication system to accommodate ICD-10. I’ve helped a large consulting firm respond to RFP’s for ICD-10 assessment services and most recently I’ve worked on an ICD-10 Assessment and Remediation project for a large healthcare organization in the Northwest.

   Most importantly, I read, research, discuss, write about and read some more about anything I can find that’s related to ICD-10. I have some close friends in the same line of work and we’re always discussing how ICD-10 impacts payers and providers. I’m a very curious person.

SC-Q: Taken as a whole, what is your blog about? What are the major themes?

   SS-A: It’s essentially a recap, an exposé if you will, about my experiences, successes and failures in the ICD-10 project space – particularly in regards to healthcare payers and risk-bearing provider organizations. I also write about the current hot ICD-10 topics being discussed in industry rags and popular online channels. As the October 2013 date draws closer, I plan to supply my thoughts, ideas and experiences related to how ICD-10 will provide strategic value to healthcare payers and providers.

SC-Q: I noticed that you provide a lot of detailed and useful information beyond what many other bloggers provide. You don’t advertise on your blog and you don’t seem to be selling anything. What’s up with that?

   SS-A:.You’re correct. I am sort of an oddball in that regard. My family and friends don’t understand I’m doing this on my own time and for my own pleasure. They think someone is paying me to do this. I see so many blogs and other social media channels that are really just thinly veiled marketing pieces for a particular product or service. Some are pretty blatant. For instance, do you know you can be trained and certified to lead ICD-10 assessment and remediation projects for about $300? {Note to self: consider a future blog post about outlandish ICD-10 product and service claims}.

SC-Q: So if you weren’t blogging about ICD-10, what other topics would be of interest to you?

   SS-A: Well, in terms of my profession in healthcare and IT, I’d write about integration and interoperability. I’ve pretty much always had a focus on tying things together and making the sum of application parts greater than their whole.

   In terms of my personal life, I’d write about my love of the outdoors: fishing, hiking, shooting (dirt and targets – not animals) and gardening. Also traveling, collecting coins and firearms and hanging out with my wonderful family.

SC-Q: Any last thoughts before we end this interview?

   SS-A: No, other than to say that I enjoyed this conversation immensely. You’re quite handsome and I must say a superb interviewer!

SC-Q: Thank you.

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