If you’ve found your way to this article you might already be knowing what ICD-10 is; a set of coding structure (called the International Classification of Disease) that notes medical records including diseases, causes and other factors. Since the compliance deadline for all medical stakeholders to transit from ICD-9 to ICD-10 is ever closer, it is required by everyone in the game (and its spectators) to have a basic understanding of ICD-10’s benefits and challenges.
Advantages of ICD 10 Codes:
The new ICD-1, obviously, has many important benefits over the past coding system. The issues and inconsistencies over the years have been identified and addressed in the new system. Below is a list of the most prominent benefits of the ICD 10 codes:
ICD10 codes are a fresh work of medical coding that has reached level of scope not seen before. This is to say that it includes conditions and diseases that occur outside the hospital boundary. For instance, the new coding allows for inclusion of causes of deaths and accidents that have not been in the traditional lists. Even risk factors have been broadened to include lifestyle, psychological and occupational factors in their influence over a disease. The new list now encodes factors such as inadequate housing, problems in relationship with partner/spouse, eating habits, exercise routines, water pollution and lack of leisure. This makes the framework very comprehensive and holistic in its definition diagnosis and disease.
The ICD 10 codes have greater specificity than any of the predecessors. While on the other hand, the practical credibility of the ICD-9 coding keeps fading away as new clinical technologies and medical concepts are added every year.
ICD 10 codes are uniquely structured to allow newly diagnosed diseases and concepts. It has enhanced accommodation for such entry than ICD-9. Further, the World Health Organization (WHO) has enlisted a top-notch professional body for a regular maintenance and update of the coding directory.
That the ICD-10 is designed by the esteemed World Health Organization, and is increasingly being adopted by most of its member nations, makes it globally comparable and sets it as an international standard of medical recording.
Its structural expansion makes it very efficient in terms of interpretation and recording. The new coding has features such as enlarged numeric form (where more numbers have been included in the sequence), hierarchical arrangement and logical representation. The guidelines too, have been made very extensive, making it easier for training and presentation.
A transition this huge naturally requires money, time and morale. These resources are turning out to be the biggest impediment towards the final deadline. All the medical billing programs that use and record their diagnostic data needs to completely shift their process to suit the new coding structure. This has enormous implications for physicians and payers who need to re-focus their business rules and processes. The payers especially are required to test all the thousands of physicians they are networked with, over the new ICD-10 guidelines.
Scope of Training:
Training drives are required to be carried out across the medical spectrum, and especially in the coding industry about how to accurately submit claims to the payers. There are, however, institutes such as Career Step have efficient curriculum designed to train coders into the new system.
Resistance to transition:
The very idea of transitions has slumped the morale of many. Many physicians have been wary of the new medical billing program and have been plain rejecting the transition in their documentation. Even further such resistance is being seen in the medical coders and the IT community who have to upgrade their systems towards the new structure.
Sustaining the momentum of such transition and ensuring long-term compliance of these data schemes is finally the longest challenge facing ICD-10.
With the calendar ever closing near to the deadline, the ICD-10 poses a complex flux of challenges before the entire industry is made ready for the shift. However, seeing its advantages and possible impacts on the way we practice healthcare – the transition is a necessary one.