ICD-10: Are You Ready?

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There is a large change looming on the United States healthcare horizon.  Some of you have already begun with the preparations and some of you haven’t.  The honest, straight-forward, truth is this: ICD-10 is happening whether you are prepared or not because it will be mandated for all entities covered by HIPAA.  Preparation is advised, and this post should help navigate you through some of the back-story and rationale as to what ICD-10 is, and what some of the benefits are. What is ICD-10? The World Health Organization (WHO) began developing the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) system in 1983 and finished it in 1992.  The United States is the last country with modern healthcare to adopt this new system, that will replace the current system, ICD-9. What are the benefits of ICD-10? Even though this system is seemingly overwhelming and could add a lot of work to implement, there are a number of benefits to it.

  1. Increased accuracy of patient diagnoses ICD-9 codes are 3-5 characters long and thus have a finite amount of options for codes to describe diagnoses and situations. In-fact, there are a number of categories that are already full and cannot support any additional codes in the ICD-9 system.  ICD-10 codes, however, can be up to 7 characters long thus allowing providers to document diagnoses with much more specificity.  This is better for patient documentation and will help improve communication across providers as well.
  2. Greater Opportunity for Evidence Based Practice (EVP) Due to the specificity of the new ICD-10 system, EVP opportunities should increase due to a higher quantity and quality of data available for review.
  1. Improved backend patient processing With increased accuracy of diagnoses comes the ability to better evaluate patient care, support research initiatives, and observe more in-depth public health trends. These items combined help clinics make more informed decisions in all of these areas as well.
  Over the next few months we will be writing more posts on ICD-10, and its inevitable launch, to help you be more prepared.  For more information you can check out this resource document from the Center for Medicare/Medicaid.  For any additional questions on this or other topics feel free to email us at [email protected] or go to our website www.naranet.org. Sources www.apta.org/Payment/Coding/ICD10/ www.webpt.com/icd-10