It feels like the last few years we have been living and working toward the start of ICD10. Now, more than three months after go-live how well is everyone doing? From a coder standpoint, it seems that everyone took seriously the studying and training to set themselves up to make a successful transition. The payers were ready to accept the claims from providers and healthcare systems and IT had all our systems ready for the ICD10 codes. All in all, it has been a fairly smooth transition for most. The year delay we experienced from October 2014 to October 2015 allowed coders time to practice, IT had time to work through system issues and create more interfaces and providers had more time to work with CDI staff on documenting specificity.
As we enter 2016, what can we expect to see from ICD10? Now that we have joined the majority of the world healthcare systems on ICD10, the U.S. can begin to compare healthcare statistics in a more meaningful way, accurately compare and measure quality of healthcare across the globe as well as evaluate the outcome of new procedures and capture newly developing conditions that just wasn’t possible with ICD9. Within the United States, we will be better able to measure healthcare services and their outcomes through the specificity of ICD10 codes. The much more detail codes within PCS will help us track new technology used in our surgical arenas. Studying those outcomes will help to improve surgical techniques and spur on more innovative technologies. Research will get a boost from the specificity of codes as clinical outcomes will be more detailed.
It will be interesting to see what 2016 will hold for ICD10. We have been on a partial code freeze since October 2011. There have been limited code updates to capture new technologies and diseases since 2012, but again, that has been very limited. October 1, 2016 will see our first regular code release in five years.
One thing we know for sure, we can count on change being part of our coding lives as usual. And who knows – ICD11 could be just around the corner!