D'Arcy Gue

Conversion to ICD-10 Should Be Good News

May 22, 2013

ICD-10 2 Minute Read

Concerns about upgrading our healthcare information management capabilities to modern day standards by replacing ICD-9 to the international ICD-10 coding standard are still rampant. We hear: the conversion to ICD-10 is too expensive…We don’t have time or staff to implement ICD-10… We have too many competing projects, such as Meaningful Use / MIPS, converting to a new EHR, etc.

No one actually says the United States needn’t keep up with the rest of the world, most of which uses ICD-10.  But every objection implies exactly that perspective.

Without ICD-10,  the promising vision shared by many healthcare professionals, groups, and state / federal governments,  of a nation-wide, integrated healthcare environment, is not possible.  As Deborah Green, COO of  AHIIMA, recently noted, ICD-10 implementation is “necessary for the success of initiatives such as Meaningful Use / MIPS of health information technology, value-based purchasing and quality improvement efforts.”

Since we have to swallow the ICD-10 pill by October 1, 2014, let’s briefly acknowledge what it will help to “cure.”

This robust, up-to-date coding system will replace ICD-9, which, 20 years ago, was recognized by The National  Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) as being inadequate to keep up with the fast pace of medical change.  icd-9 limitations

ICD-10 will virtually eliminate ICD-9’s limitations, and provide far better differentiated definitions of diagnoses and procedures, to more accurately document technology advancements.  This outcome, in turn, will:

  • Enable much more accurate reimbursement claims and payments for procedures
  • Provide greater ability to mine better data — which will enhance disease management, quality measurement, and research / development
  • Enable better identification and prevention of Medicare fraud and abuse
  • Enable better national and global tracking and prevention of diseases

The inherent limits of ICD-9 coding prevent accurate identification and reporting of today’s  diagnoses and procedures, or accurate measurement of the quality of care provided in our healthcare system.  Assessment of patient conditions and evaluation of treatment outcomes has become difficult and unnecessarily expensive. Compare the capabilities of  ICD-10 over ICD-9 codes: diagnoses, for example,  under ICD-9-CM (Clinical Modification), comprise about 13,000 codes; ICD-10-CM’s greater specificity provides for 68,000 codes.

It is almost impossible not to understand why ICD-10 is needed to “meaningfully use” healthcare information technology.

Nevertheless, last Monday, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and three Senate co-sponsors introduced yet another bill aimed at blocking HHS from implementing ICD-10. This latest challenge to our moving into the 21st century of healthcare information management is likely to fail, as have past similar challenges.

What are they thinking? What about the advantages of the new coding system? Well, we have some thoughts on the benefits of ICD-10, an entire report, actually.

Our ICD-10 Benefits Report discusses the significant positives for healthcare providers once our outdated ICD-9 codes are updated. Download the report to learn how the many advantages of ICD-10 will likely outweigh the costs.

Related Posts