Why Do You Have to Change to ICD-10?

Lea Chatham November 11th, 2013

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By Rochelle Glassman

Kareo ICD-10 Resources

Screech! We dig in our heels when hearing the word ‘change’ causing an initial reaction commonly known as freak out! After absorbing more of what the ‘change’ means to us, we make a decision to accept or reject it quickly.

Before we freak out it can be helpful to gather more information. A great example of this in our healthcare world right now is ICD-10. It is a bit scary and overwhelming. And I think the best place to start is with some background. Why is this change happening? What does it mean to your practice? What is your next (or first) step?

First, as a healthcare professional, the acronym ICD-10-CM is somewhat familiar. We’ve heard rumblings about an updated diagnosis coding system set coming for a while. So what is it?

Simply stated ICD-10-CM means International Classification of Diseases 10th Revision Clinical Modification. The United States is not adopting this revised structure to drive you crazy. It is time for us to join in the majority of other industrialized nations who have been using this system for many years now.

The fact is that ICD-9-CM is outdated! We must adapt and change to a system that has proven itself to be more comprehensive. While it can be scary, often change is a good thing. This is the case with ICD-10. As E. Hoffer once said, “In times of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future!”

The ICD classification system was revised in 1990 by the World Health Organization (WHO) to allow for updated terminology, diseases, technology, ability to expand diagnosis codes, and assigning one code for combined illnesses. For example, one combination code depicting diabetes with its related manifestations. ICD-10 codes may contain up to seven digits or characters, be alphanumeric, and may include laterality to specify right or left side of the body.

On a positive note, the basic steps to find a diagnosis code do not change!

  1. Identify the main term
  2. Find the code in the index to diseases and injuries
  3. Verify the code in the tabular list
  4. Review any applicable Excludes 1 or 2 notes (new definitions for ICD-10)
  5. Assign appropriately

Now that you understand what ICD-10 is, find out more about how to prepare at the upcoming webinar, ICD-10: Don’t Freak Out or visit www.kareo.com/icd-10. These tools and events can help you become one of the people who “inherit the future!”

About the Author:

Rochelle Glassman discusses the cost of bad customer service for Kareo

Rochelle Glassman, a passionate advocate for physicians and medical practices who has devoted her career to helping doctors get paid. Rochelle is the President & CEO of United Physician Services, and is a nationally recognized healthcare consultant known for her candor, tenacity, and vision.

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