ICD-10: A Short Story
By: Sajeesh Jinaraj
ICD-10-CM is the 10th revision of an international coding system used around the world, the International Classification of Diseases. The United States, which as of now uses ICD-9, will be one of the last developed nations to move to ICD-10, which much of the world has been utilizing for over 12 years.
ICD-10 is a product of the World Health Organization (WHO) designed for official collection of diagnostic data. The United States uses the ICD system to code diagnoses for all healthcare encounters. When ICD codes are tied to the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Common Procedure Terminology (CPT) codes, appropriate payment can be returned to the practicing physician.
It is important to understand the major improvements and changes between ICD-9 and ICD-10 diagnosis codes.
|ICD-9-CM Diagnosis Codes||ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Codes|
|No-Laterality||Laterality -Right or Left account for >40% of codes|
|3-5 digits||7 digits|
|First digit is alpha (E or V) or numeric||Digit 1 is alpha; Digit 2 is numeric|
|Digits 2-5 are numeric||Digits 3–7 are alpha or numeric|
|No placeholder characters||“X” placeholders|
|14,000 codes||69,000 codes to better capture specificity|
|Limited Severity Parameters||Extensive Severity Parameters|
|Limited Combination Codes||Extensive Combination Codes to better capture complexity|
|1 type of Excludes Notes||2 types of Excludes Notes|
- Importance of Anatomy: Injuries are grouped by anatomical site rather than by type of injury.
- Incorporation of E and V Codes: The codes corresponding to ICD-9-CM V codes (Factors Influencing Health Status and Contact with Health Services) and E codes (External Causes of Injury and Poisoning) are incorporated into the main classification rather than separated into supplementary classifications as they were in ICD-9-CM.
- New Definitions: In some instances, new code definitions are provided, reflecting modern medical practice (e.g., definition of acute myocardial infarction is now 4 weeks rather than 8 weeks).
- Restructuring and Reorganization: Category restructuring and code reorganization have occurred in a number of ICD-10-CM chapters, resulting in the classification of certain diseases and disorders that are different from ICD-9-CM.
- Reclassification: Certain diseases have been reclassified to different chapters or sections in order to reflect current medical knowledge.
Replacing ICD-9-CM with ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS, which handles procedure codes, will provide higher-quality information for measuring healthcare service quality, safety, and efficacy. This will give better information to:
- Quality measurement and medical error reduction (patient safety).
- Outcomes measurement.
- Clinical research.
- Clinical, financial, and administrative performance measurement.
- Health policy planning.
- Operational and strategic planning and healthcare delivery systems design.
- Payment systems design and claims processing.
- Reporting on use and effects of new medical technology.
- Provider profiling.
- Refinements to current reimbursement systems, such as severity-adjusted DRG systems.
- Pay-for-performance programs.
- Public health and bioterrorism monitoring.
- Managing care and disease processes.
- Educating consumers on costs and outcomes of treatment options.
Moving to the new code sets will also permit improved efficiencies and lower administrative expenses as a result of replacing a dysfunctional classification system. In turn, this allows:
- Increased use of automated tools to facilitate the coding process.
- Decreased claims submission or claims adjudication costs.
- Fewer rejected and improper reimbursement claims.
- Greater interoperability.
- Decreased need for manual review of health records to meet the information needs of payers, researchers, and other data mining purposes.
- Decreased need for large research organizations to maintain dual classification systems (one for reimbursement and one for research).
- Reduced coding errors.
- Reduced labour costs and increased productivity.
- Increased ability to prevent and detect healthcare fraud and abuse.
It has become clear that the benefits far outweigh the costs of implementation by evaluating the dollar estimation of the advantages in the following categories:
- More accurate payment for new procedures.
- Fewer rejected claims.
- Fewer fraudulent claims.
- Better understanding of new procedures.
- Improved disease management.
The transition will be tough. Even the well prepared office may run into problems directly following the transition. Be prepared to see a decrease in productivity and accuracy, as well as the need for additional training and education. Expect delays in claims processing and an increase in the number of rejected claims, but to continue with the quotable theme “no pain, no gain.” It is our responsibility to propel the healthcare industry forward, and ICD-10 is a very important step in that process.
As a broad outline, the following 8 steps will help ensure successful implementation of ICD-10 this year:
- Engage a team:The transition team should be headed by a physician and include the practice executive, coders, other office staff and medical assistants. Those who document the medical record must be involved and begin training soon.
- Establish a plan and then Execute it:These are multiple plans, including one for education and training, one for assessing current documentation, one for conducting a gap analysis, and one for implementation. Watch for and participate in the AAOS educational program on ICD-10 transition and implementation this year. Once the plans are made, execute them.
- Conduct a gap analysis:A skilled consultant or team should take the top 25 to 40 diagnoses seen in the practice. Using current documentation, the team should code the same cases to ICD-10-CM, and see what is missing.
- Get focused training:Send office staff to a seminar or hire a consultant to do specific onsite training, focused on orthopaedics and any specialty area of the practice.
- Follow through:Do this particularly on the clinical documentation improvement plan. Make the changes in your electronic health record system template. Capture the data you need for the specific and best code to be selected.
- Identify ICD code usage: Where does your practice use ICD codes? Identify all places where you use ICD codes, because all will need to be changed. Take advantage of the opportunity to make process improvements.
- Continue testing: Training is not a one-time exertion; it must be consistent.
- Champion the change: Be the physician champion in your office who is supportive of this change and demonstrate your ability to give a detailed diagnosis or diagnoses for coding.
This is not a Heart-breaking situation, and there is no reason to panic. Good clinical documentation is the foundation, and having coders trained in ICD-10-CM will help through the transition.
- 6 Benefits of Integrating ICD-10 Codes.
- ICD-10 Definition.
- ICD-10 Code Set to Replace ICD-9.
- ICD-10 Taskforce Bulletin.
- ICD-10-CM: It Is Not All That Bad
- Successful ICD-10 Testing Shows Industry Ready to Take Next Step to Modernize Health Care
- Covid-19: Ignorance is Not BlissJul 29 , 2020
- Covid-19: Why You Should Be Wearing a MaskJul 13 , 2020
- Part 2: Getting Care During a PandemicJun 15 , 2020
- Part 1: Getting Care During a PandemicJun 04 , 2020
- Data Aggregation and Its Importance: A WHOOP ExperienceMar 09 , 2020
- How WHOOP Could be a Trailblazer in Treating Population HealthFeb 13 , 2020
- How the Internet Changed HealthcareOct 18 , 2019
- Patient Histories: The Key to Quality CareOct 01 , 2019
- 3A’s (Aggregate, Analyze and Act) of Healthcare ITSep 19 , 2019
- Telemedicine – Benefits and ChallengesSep 04 , 2019
- Health Data Exchange StandardsJul 31 , 2019
- Telehealth: Technology meets HealthcareApr 11 , 2019
- Integrated Care: The Future of Behavioral HealthMar 29 , 2019
- Troubles with Getting Mental Health Help and InsuranceMar 15 , 2019
- 7 Things to do to Protect Against Ransomware AttacksAug 08 , 2018
- Oh EHR, how can we love thee?Apr 20 , 2018
- What’s in Store for Practice Fusion UsersJan 31 , 2018
- What is precision medicine? And how can EHR help?Jan 05 , 2018
- What’s the SOAPware alternative?Dec 15 , 2017
- Artificial Intelligence, EHRs and the future of health technologyNov 02 , 2017
- ACA Executive order’s impact on EMR and eHealth technologyOct 25 , 2017
- EHRs and Mental Health: What Needs to Change?Sep 29 , 2017
- American Medical Association (And Others) Unhappy With EHR ProvidersSep 22 , 2017
- A Celebration of Citizenship DaySep 18 , 2017
- Amazon’s Stealthy Foray Into the World of EHRAug 18 , 2017
- Google, the Gender Gap and Personal ResponsibilityAug 10 , 2017
- Neal Patterson and the Mission of Health ITJul 21 , 2017
- The Myth About Motivating People To PerformJul 14 , 2017
- Fragmented health data and personalized medicine: What to do?Jul 07 , 2017
- Apple’s Venture Into the World of EHR SoftwareJun 23 , 2017
- What does the U.K. health record hack mean for eHealth security?Jun 15 , 2017
- Why Doctors need an All-rounder Healthcare Solution?Mar 19 , 2016
- Are we ready for data-driven healthcare?Mar 12 , 2016
- Using Medicare And Private Sector Claims Data for Patient care QualityFeb 26 , 2016
- The Doctor must “Evolve” with the TechnologyFeb 26 , 2016
- The 2015 Practice Profitability IndexFeb 25 , 2016
- ‘Mind Your Risks’ – The NIH health campaignFeb 22 , 2016
- Middle East and Arab Health 2016Feb 03 , 2016
- Medical Billing in 2016Jan 08 , 2016
- CMS publishes 2014 National Health ExpendituresJan 02 , 2016
- Results from the Practice Profitability Index 2015Dec 16 , 2015
- This National Diabetes Month, you have a role in diabetes education and supportNov 26 , 2015
- Safe Texting in HealthCare: Do’s & Dont’sNov 18 , 2015
- Is TeleMedicine the future of healthcare ?Nov 13 , 2015
- Evaluating specific KPIs can improve business performanceNov 09 , 2015
- 50 Years of Medicare: More than 55 million Americans covered by MedicareSep 23 , 2015
- How Much Does Healthcare Cost Matter To A Patient?Sep 18 , 2015
- How does Affordable Care Act Change Your Practice?Sep 11 , 2015
- A ‘Don’t Do’ List to avoid patient no-showsAug 21 , 2015
- Add more patients and grow your medical business in 5 easy stepsAug 05 , 2015
- Medicare Trust Fund is now protected by the Fraud Prevention SystemJul 16 , 2015
- ICD-10: A Short StoryMay 19 , 2015
- Patient portals and patient engagement: Is there a link?Apr 21 , 2015
- Meaningful Use Stage 3: First LookApr 07 , 2015
- 6 Ways Physicians can Free Patient RecordsMar 17 , 2015
- Is the EHR market saturated?Dec 04 , 2014
- 5 Benefits of healthcare information exchanges for small practicesApr 22 , 2014
- New Study shows EMR Adoption Increases Patient Confidence, Loyalty and SatisfactionApr 22 , 2014
- Cloud-Based EMR Vendors and Patient Data SecurityApr 22 , 2014