Implementation of ICD 10 Code Set not easy

Deadline for implementation of the ICD-10 code set is not until October 2013, but, Lisa Miller, CIO of Xeohealth and co-chair of the WEDI workgroup assigned to the ICD transition emphasized during her presentation at the HIMSS 2010 Conference in Atlanta, on the need for the industry to be gearing up now and not underestimate the difficulties of transition to the new code set.

The new code set shall greatly expand the number of procedure and diagnosis codes under ICD-9 moving to 87,000 procedure codes from the current 11,000. In addition, ICD-10 requires a much higher level of granularity around procedures, including such details as whether a surgery was performed on the right or left side of the patient. This granularity will result in fewer miscoded and rejected claims since providers will be able to better document what they did. On the other hand, the sheer bulk of new codes, plus the impact on current information systems and business processes, means the conversion will be difficult at best.

Miller advised organizations to designate an executive sponsor over the ICD-10 transition effort and not assume that a quick “cross-walk” approach will suffice. “The codes, nomenclature, and information carried in them are completely different,” she said. “There is no way to cross-walk directly.”