The book idea was hatched during a concert this summer on the capitol square. “We were sitting around there with all the people in our business incubator (called 100state). Everyone was looking up on their phones the funny ICD-10 codes. One of my friends said we should put together a children's book” with illustrations of each code.
But no one acted on the idea for several months, Skievaski said, until he was having a drink in a pub with an artist friend and mentioned the concept. The artist volunteered to contribute a drawing based on one of the codes, and that got things started. Skievaski put up a website that same day, and sent out e-mails to about 100 friends and colleagues from the incubators, asking if they knew any artists who might be willing to contribute.
The next day after launching the website, the first piece of art work came back, and so did the first purchase order for the book. “Since then, art has been coming in from the artists (it gets posted to the web site) and that's increased the sales,” he said.
“Just this morning, I got the proof of the finished copy,” Skievaski said. “It's going to press today. We've ordered 1,000 copies for a first printing. We're at about 500 orders, so we're taking a little bit of a gamble. As we get closer, I'll put a countdown on the website. We're really excited because ICD-10 is such a hot topic on everyone's mind.”
The federally mandated compliance date for nationwide conversion to the massive, detailed and sometimes obscure International Classification of Diseases 10th Revision family of diagnostic and procedural codes is Oct. 1, 2014.
The first edition of the book should ship by mid-December, with arrival just in time for Christmas, he said. Profits will be split with the contributing artists, Skievaski said. “It should be a couple hundred bucks per piece of art, so they're all pretty excited.”
Skievaski says he has undergraduate and master's degrees in economics from Arizona State University and Boston University and had worked for nearly three years in administration at Epic Systems in nearby Verona, Wis., before leaving in March to launch the incubators and his own health IT knowledge management business, BreadcrumbsQA.
Skievaski and his clan of entrepreneurs may not rest with just this one book. “We're talking about doing a countdown calendar. We're thinking about selling prints. We're looking at different ways to grow the business.”
Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn