The US is the only country still using ICD-9 codes
The mandated change will bring the US up to speed with the rest of the world regarding medical codes.
The ICD-10 system was issued in 1998 by the World Health Organization.
For more than 100 industrialized countries, it is now the standard for:
- Mortality and morbidity reporting
- Reimbursement systems
- Automated decision support
The US, however, has not yet converted to ICD-10 and still uses the 30+ year-old ICD-9 coding — a system that does not always accurately describe the diagnoses and inpatient procedures of current medical practice.
Benefits of ICD-10
ICD-10 will expand the number of available codes from 24,000 to more than 155,000 and has ample room for incorporating emerging diagnoses and procedures. Instead of ICD-9's three to five digits and predominantly numeric code form, ICD-10 contains up to seven digits and is alphanumeric.
Before the new coding system is launched, health care organizations have yet another deadline.
By January 1, 2012, they will need to update electronic transaction standards for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) from version 4010 to version 5010. The update is a prerequisite for ICD-10 because the current claim standard cannot accommodate the longer ICD-10 codes.
As more emphasis is placed on outcomes-based payment paradigms, population health and comparative effectiveness, the more granular ICD-10 codes — along with increasing availability of digital clinical information as incentivized by meaningful use stimulus dollars — will allow for appropriate evolution of payment paradigms.
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