Preparing for ICD – 10: Is Your Organization Ready?

Healthcare Training Resource
October 21, 2013 — 1,070 views  
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What is ICD – 10?

ICD is a diagnostic tool for health management and medical purposes, along with the study of the causes and effects of medical conditions within a defined population. ICD stands for the International Classification of Diseases. The ICD is a globally recognized standard that records statistics for morbidity and mortality in populations; since mortality is a primary indicator of general health status in a given population, the recording of mortality data is necessary to study causes, effects and patterns in patients worldwide. Instituted by the World Health Organization (WHO), the ICD is translated into 43 languages across the world, and offered by the WHO in its six official languages – Chinese, Arabic, English, Russian, Spanish and French, and has been translated in 36 more languages. ICD -10 is the 10th revision of the diagnostic tool, which is being billed as the largest change in healthcare coding systems in decades. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) intend to migrate all the codes from ICD – 9 to ICD – 10 in 2014. This migration is mandatory for all healthcare services and diagnostic service providers, with a fixed deadline with no grace period.

Differences between ICD – 10 and ICD – 9 – CM

For one, the ICD – 10 classification system is set to be much more comprehensive than the ICD -9 systems, with new codes for medical diagnosis and treatments, numbering as high as 65,000.  The transition, which will affect Electronic Health Record (EHR), billing and decision support systems, will require primary upgrades such as the replacement of the current systems in place.

Apart from these changes, ICD- 10 incorporates changes made to the structure of the codes themselves. The increased number of codes, combined with restructuring existing codes, will allow for more specific diagnosis of medical conditions and their subsequent documentation.

Preparing for the ICD – 10 Transition

To be ready for the ICD -10 transition process by 2014, decision making should begin very early in terms of planning the transition according to which areas will be impacted by the transition, and form a body of people in charge of managing the areas that are to be impacted by the transition. Once the committee is made, the following must be done:-

  • All committee members must familiarize themselves with and educate themselves on the new ICD – 10 classification system.
  • Allow staff members to voice concerns with respect to the areas that they are associated with, that are likely to be impacted by the transition.
  • Set up a channel of communication, connecting doctors and other medical staff.
  • Get in touch with vendors that serve your current system and gain information with respect to the services they plan to provide with the arrival of the ICD – 10 standards.
  • Evaluate the impact of the transition based on data gathered from the committee members, in terms of the specific impact on certain departments or areas, and how the existing IT systems are going to be affected.

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