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The ICD 9/ICD Dilemma

The conversion to ICD is scheduled for fall 2014 and most practices are extremely concerned whether they will be ready.

The transition from ICD9 to IC 10 will not necessarily be easy and may interrupt payments. The International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) is the official system used in the United States to classify and assign codes to health conditions and related information. The use of standardized codes improves consistency among physicians in recording patient symptoms and diagnoses.

The ICD-9-CM contains a list of alphanumeric codes which correspond to diagnoses and procedures recorded in conjunction with hospital care in the United States. For example, a patient with acute appendicitis will be assigned a code of 540. This code may be entered onto a patient’s electronic health record (EHR) and used for diagnostic, billing and reporting purposes. Related information also classified and codified in the system includes symptoms, patient complaints, causes of injury, and mental disorders.

The ICD-10 code set allows more than 14,400 different codes and permits the tracking of many new diagnoses. The codes can be expanded to over 16,000 codes by using optional sub-classifications. The detail reported by ICD can be further increased, with a simplified multi-axial approach, by using codes meant to be reported in a separate data field.

With the increased # of codes, the data can be analyzed to more specifically but adds needed complexity to the provider. Figuring out ICD 9 codes is hard enough because providers are taught to make a “Final Diagnosis” and not a diagnosis with a number written in a foreign language. ICD 10 adds a new level of complexity for payers and providers to fight through more regulations. There probably be a delay due to the complexity of the Affordable Care Act.

XpressCharts EHR reduces the stress off the provider by using chief-complaint driven templates that drill down the most common diagnosis based on the complaint. This allows the provider to select quickly without searching the complete database. If you want more information or a demonstration of XpressCharts EHR, call us today 904.296.1189 x407!

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