How providers can make the most of ICD-10's specificity

Any codes that will be expanded in ICD-10 hold promise to enhance research and process improvements, and health information management specialists can help make the most all the new code set has to offer, according to American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)-approved ICD-10 trainer Cathie Wilde.

These specialists can pursue clinical documentation improvement (CDI), and work with physicians, and hospital leaders to make the transition go smoothly and truly harness your organization's data to improve care, writes Wilde, who serves as director of coding services for MRA, in an article at ICD-10 Monitor.

Among the code sets that will be affected:

  • Diabetes codes: These expansions will help further define treatment and programs for this common condition, she says
  • Seventh-character extension to capture more information about injuries: Expanded data will assist with injury surveillance and targeting of public health programs based on need, according to Wilde
  • Changes in acute myocardial infarction (AMI) coding: In ICD-9, an AMI is coded as acute when it occurs within eight weeks of initial onset. However, the timeframe for AMI is shorted to four weeks in ICD-10, which establishes a new category to identify a second acute MI that occurs within four weeks, Wilde says. This new information may enhance research and provide data to potentially improve treatment options such as cardiac rehab

While the focus on ICD-10 initially will be on getting paid, she says, the wealth of new information will provide fodder for an array of new research and treatments.

The new code set will help providers collect big data with precision, as well as better track events and outcomes, William Rusnak, a resident physician at Greater Philadelphia Hospital, wrote for HIT Consultant.

As an example, it would allow better tracking of diseases such as Ebola, which is coded in ICD-9 as 078.89, Other specified diseases due to viruses, a designation used for multiple viral diseases. In ICD-10, it would have its own code A98.4, Ebola.

However, less than 50 percent of physician practices responding to a recent Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) survey said they would be ready for ICD-10 by the Oct. 1 transition deadline.

To learn more:
- read the article