ICD-10 is a medical classification list issued by the World Health Organization. The 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems is used for coding various diseases, their symptoms and signs, complaints, abnormal findings and external causes that may cause such disease or injury.
The ICD-10 code is used for tracking new diagnosis as well. This new set of codes can be used in more than 14,400 variations. It also comes with an optional sub classification system which allows the expansion of codes to over 16,000. The billers can also use the simplified multi axial approach to increase the number of codes as per their needs.
ICD-10 is of utmost importance for in-house medical coders as this protocol has been adopted by over 25 countries for the purpose of resource allocation and reimbursement. The member countries are allowed to make changes to ICD-10 therefore, the medical billing professionals should remain careful about the rules and regulations applicable to a particular country. ICD-10 has been translated into 42 different languages for the ease of use.
Medical coding professionals should be careful about confusing ICD-10 with the National Clinical Modifications (NCM) of the ICD. The NCM is also used for including more fields of data and separate details for procedures too. However, both the systems are different. ICD-10 can also be indirectly used to deal with the shortage of medical billing coders because the new coding standard comprises of many intricate details about the patient’s disease and the doctor’s diagnosis that was absent in ICD-9. This shortcoming in ICD-9 left more scope for the coder to use his knowledge to assign the most suitable code. ICD-10 thus proves to be more useful for the medical billing professionals and coders as it leaves lesser room for personal input.
On a broader perspective, the adoption of ICD-10 will help in evaluating the efficacy of new drugs, treatments and technologies. This will help in increasing the quality of medical care offered to the patients. It should also help in monitoring various processes such as epidemiological research and clinical trials. The new protocol is also useful in tracking public health and threat levels.
With the help of ICD-10, the medical community can also control its costs. It can help in designing efficient healthcare delivery systems. It can also contribute in taking better decisions in favor of the patients, as the system can provide the patients with the costs associated with their treatments and the possible outcomes in advance. ICD-10 can also be used for monitoring various means of payments before designing the most apt payment system. Hospitals can use it for the purpose of instituting performance related pay plans. This protocol is useful for creating health policies by using treatment and outcome data. It is easy to use and implement.
ICD-10 can prove to be helpful in monitoring abuse too. The upgraded coding standard can be used for proper monitoring of various undesired activities such as fraud, as it makes for proper documentation and has data about different kinds of procedures. It also ensures precise coding. Such automation will aid the process of claims adjudication.