With the transition from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-9 to ICD-10 set to take effect on Oct. 1, 2014, it’s time to look at the advantages of ICDE-10 compared to the old system. ICD-10 provides 68,000 diagnostic codes and creates a new alpha-numeric system of 3-7 digits.

ICD-10 allows for different diagnosis coding according to the venue in which the patient is seen. ICD-10-C will be used by primary physicians and therapists, while ICD-10-PCS is for inpatient hospital procedures. Despite reticence and trepidation on the part of many clinicians, ICD-10 will provide some distinct advantages that will benefit practices in a variety of ways.

    1. The most important advantage to the new codes will be the ability to provide a more in-depth diagnosis for each patient and condition, ultimately leading to fewer claim rejections. Every practitioner has felt the frustration of having a reimbursement claim denied or sent back for more information. The new codes are designed to include a variety of expanded information to facilitate the claims process.
    2. The new coding system employs a new alpha-numeric sequence that allows for easy changes and updates as technology advances.
    3. ICD-10 codes are very specific about each incident in terms of when, where and how an injury took place, along with symptoms and any measures the patient may have taken on their own to gain relief. They provide numerous sub-categories for enhanced scope of reporting.
    4. The ICD-10 system provides clinicians with an updated listing that takes into account changes in technology and practices that have evolved since the implementation of ICD-9 over 30 years ago. New diseases, conditions and terminology allows for a better and broader scope of reporting ranging from animal attacks to conditions arising from space age technology.

  1. The enhanced coding provides detailed data for statistics gathering, analysis and research.
  2. ICD-10 codes allows for better monitoring to assess quality of care.
  3. The new codes should provide greater insight into each patient case and reduce the need for volumes of client records to be transmitted. Electronic transmission of data reduces the need for paper records, offering an environmentally-friendly solution. Practitioners can share standardized information electronically with other caregivers for better patient outcomes.
  4. The greater specificity of ICD-10 has the potential for yielding better reimbursement levels for clinicians. Practitioners can discover which procedures generate the best revenues and bill accordingly when it’s appropriate.
  5. The new coding is designed to increase efficiency within practices, allowing clinicians to better manage their available resources to reduce overall healthcare costs.
  6. The U.S. is the only country that hasn’t already transitions to the ICD-10 codes. A universally accepted standard of coding allows information to flow freely between healthcare professionals any country in the world. This is especially important in the control of contagious diseases and potential epidemics, but has other applications, too. It allows for better monitoring to assess quality of care.

The transition to ICD-10 codes will require clinicians to capture data in new ways, but will provide practitioners with an improved means of documenting the complaints and diseases of each patient. That ability has the potential to generate a significant increase in revenues.