ICD stands for International Statistical Classifications of Diseases. These codes are given to every diagnosis and provide details about the symptoms and even causes of death. Developed by the World Health Organization, these codes are used to generate data surrounding the field of medicine and health and provide standards by which healthcare providers must become accustomed. The codes related to diagnosis and symptoms mean that others around the country and world would interpret this code in the exact same way, which provides an excellent resource to keep healthcare data in a common language.

Meanings for Patient Care

Although the ICD code belonging to a temporary problem might not be as critical, other problems that persist throughout a patient’s life may be recorded initially in their file as an ICD code. When that person moves to another location or begins to see a new physician, this code will communicate to the new healthcare provider a common understanding of your issues, resulting in better and more consistent patient care.

ICD Codes help healthcare providers to understand medical diagnoses

ICD Codes for Data Tracking

The government uses the health information drawn from ICD codes to track particular diseases. Anything that’s highly contagious or considered worthy of government tracking (like HIV) can provide important insights into the numbers of people afflicted with particular problems or the spread of a problem.

ICD codes can also illuminate information about the death of a patient, and they are frequently found on the death certificate for a deceased person. Once again, this information could be valuable for government authorities to identify the spread or impact of certain medical issues.

ICD codes provide data about healthcare diagnoses and causes of death.

ICD Updates

ICD codes have been in existence for a relatively long period of time (since 1893, when they were developed by French physician Jacques Bertillion). As such, medical knowledge has increased and changed over time, so the codes are updated often to reflect new needs and incorporate greater knowledge. Often, the changes involved in new ICD codes are incredibly comprehensive and require serious understanding of diagnoses for new specialists (all the way from healthcare providers to medical billing employees) to remain in line with the codes.

Codes are updated every so often to account for new knowledge and improvements.

The Legwork behind ICD Implementation

Updates to ICD codes require careful planning and consideration on behalf of the healthcare provider. One of the biggest challenges for new implementation is in staffing since new code developments require detailed understanding of medical terminology and diagnosis. There are also systematic changes associated with ICD code changes, and mistakes made can result in reimbursement delays. Ultimately, new developments in the ICD will make it easier for offices to capture data and to optimize their performance, but like all major changes, may require a transition period before the full benefits are felt.

Although the increased work from new ICD code implementation can feel like a burden, it’s also an opportunity to improve your business model and enhance workflow procedures.

ICD-9 and ICD-10 Codes

Although occasionally updates in the coding system primarily account for minor changes, this is not the case when it comes to ICD-9 and ICD-10. One of the improvements between the two systems is that ICD-10 provides further specialization (for example, a cut on the arm in ICD-9 would not specify which arm, whereas ICD-10 takes it a step further to enhance details). Additionally, ICD-10 differentiates between an initial encounter for an issue and a subsequent encounter for an issue.

ICD-10 is an improvement in the prior coding because it drills down into additional data.



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