Fact: ICD-10 will benefit medical coders more than ICD-9
Written by Frieda W
For the last so many decades, we’ve been using ICD-9. ICD-9, which stands for International Classification of Diseases, 9th edition is the system of codes used to classify every disease and medical condition. It contained 14,000 diagnosis codes and 4,000 procedural codes which sufficed us for over a couple of decades. But the world of medicine is constantly evolving and new diseases and health conditions are discovered almost every day, and this is where ICD-9 falls short. It doesn’t contain specific codes that we as coders can use to classify new health conditions and diseases. And that’s the reason we need to make the transition to ICD-10, a new structure of codes that will do justice to the ever-growing world of medicine.
What’s So Different about ICD-10?
· Most importantly, the new codes reflect the latest medical jargon and devices.
· ICD-10 is devised keeping in mind the need to include new codes with the passage of time and discovery of health conditions. Thus the coding system is flexible unlike ICD-9 which was limited in structure which brings us to the next point.
· The ICD-10 CM procedural coding system provides exhaustive descriptions and detailed outlines for procedures. ICD-10 contains a whopping 68,000 diagnosis (also called clinical modification or CM) codes and 72,000 procedural codes. That’s a gargantuan leap from ICD-9.
· The difference isn’t only in the number of codes, but also in how they’re presented. ICD-10 codes are seven characters in length with a decimal point after the first three digits. The first three digits are similar to ICD-9 in the info they convey, but the remaining four digits represent specific information and add laterality to the code, which ICD-9 codes lacked. This will facilitate accurate documentation which is a critical step in quality patient care. The increased level of specificity also simplifies coding and billing procedures.
· The ICD-10 diagnosis coding system improves administrative analysis and the clinical data captured by the codes facilitates medical research.
The Benefits of using ICD-10
Healthcare systems across the country are expected to witness considerable advantages once implementation of ICD-10 gets under way:
- Fewer claim rejections – The chances of claims being rejected because of miscoded, improper, and missing information get substantially reduced; and billing and reimbursement procedures will be more efficient.
- Thanks to the specificity and expanded nature of the codes, the healthcare industry has access to quality data facilitating extensive research related to diseases, their diagnoses, treatment plan and their efficiencies, and prevention.
- This in turn leads to improved disease management and better health outcome which is beneficial to public health.
Recognizing these advantages, what do you think of ICD-10? ICD-10 will come into effect October 2014 and though it might seem a year away, it’s not very far off really! Everyone from doctors to the medical coding and billing community needs to transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10, because one year later, ICD-9 will be rendered obsolete. As a medical coder, it’s time you understand the importance and benefits of ICD-10 and prepare yourself to switch over to the new coding structure.
The impending implementation of ICD-10 also highlights the training needs of the healthcare industry, especially the medical coders. Several institutes including offer ICD-10 training as part of their healthcare courses. Among the better ones are CareerStep, which has been recognized as one of the top 50 education companies on the Inc. 5000.
The CareerStep corporate trainingmodule is a comprehensive solution developed to ease the transition of your organization from ICD-9 to ICD-10 and can be customized to suit your organizational needs.
The sooner you receive training, the better, because you don’t want to be left untrained when ICD-10 eventually rolls out next fall. And from what I know, if medical coding is your bread and butter, then you’re in for a better future, because there’s going to be a dearth of trained medical coders who can handle the complex ICD-10 structure. Even better news – the need for trained coders is expected to increase by (hold your breath), 21% (As stated by BLS), in this decadealone! Which means that receiving ICD-10 training will only solidify your position in the healthcare industry. So buckle up and get ready to embrace this newcomer that’s just waiting to revolutionize the healthcare industry for good!