With the current trend of healthcare consumerism, it is inevitable that the evolution of the digital frontier is being leveraged to both streamline and improve upon overall healthcare practices. An increasing emphasis on care quality has positioned clinical coding as one of the prime areas of technological transformation. However, using technology to enhance the coding framework necessitates an effective classification standard designed to map health conditions to corresponding categories for more effective management. This is where the Internal Classification of Diseases (ICD) comes into play. Into its 10th revision (ICD-10), its existence and continued evolving nature is one that promises great benefits for the healthcare ecosystem.
Understanding ICD-10 and its Impact
In 1990, the World Health Organization (WHO) along with member panels of the United Nations endorsed the ICD-10. By using this tool codes for diseases, complaints, signs and symptoms, findings and other related data could be condensed and stored for medical coding usage. According to a CMS ICD-10 overview, nearly 99 countries utilize ICD-10 to record morbidity, including France, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada making the ICD the most commonly used classification system for diseases around the globe. Several countries have also developed their own local variations for the benefit of classification and diagnosis – such as the ICD-10-AM for Australia and New Zealand, and the ICD-10-CA for Canada.
The expanse of the capabilities and codes of ICD-10 far overshadows its predecessor, the ICD-9. The current classification system contains over 155,000 diverse codes, which is a significant increase over the 17,000 codes that ICD-9 contained. The 10th version of the ICD contains nearly 19 times as many procedure codes and 5 times as many diagnosis codes as its preceding version. These advancements allow the system to track new diagnoses and procedures in a quick and easy manner. Additionally, WHO’s efforts to facilitate ICD-10 adoption has been a major one – with manuals, a browser, training guidelines and files being readily available as online resources.
With the implementation of ICD-10, coders have been able to reap the benefits of increased detail and flexibility with regards to their clinical coding. By being able to adapt to keep pace with contemporary changes, ICD-10 has further helped streamline the coding workflow. This constant adaptability has allowed coders to quickly and easily implement changes in a timely basis, as well as giving caregivers the ability to continuously improve their operations. A new identification system, more accurate service information, easier coding workflows, and a focus on current medical procedures through big data analytics are all things to look forward to with ICD-10 implementation.
Addressing ICD-10 Challenges: AI-enabled Computer Assisted Coding Solution
With all the benefits in mind, there are inevitably challenges to consider as well. In transitioning from ICD-9 to ICD-10, the most prominent challenge will be in finding qualified coders who can effectively manage the escalating workload during the transition process. To this end, investing in computer assisted coding (CAC) software can make this process easier for coders.
By leveraging an AI-enabled solution, the problem of managing workflows is significantly simplified. A comprehensive CAC solution allows all clinical and patient related data to be unified on a single enterprise CAC platform. This is can prove to be a significant advantage during the transition process where optimization with minimal disruption is critical. Coders utilizing the assistance of a CAC software find themselves able to make faster and better-informed decisions that leverage the full extent of ICD-10’s capabilities. Moreover, they are able to address the challenges in a manner that allows for perfect synchronicity between all departments involved in the clinical documentation framework. A cloud-based, HIPAA compliant CAC solution can further help track coding visibility and organizational metrics in real-time. This allows hospitals healthcare institutions develop a fully-integrated, versatile, and secure system that is intuitive enough to enable quick access to medical coding workflows in a seamless manner.
With healthcare systems having to adapt to take into account both medical and management duties, support from AI-powered CAC solutions will prove instrumental in effectively implementing ICD-10. A data driven approach will be instrumental in choosing the right software and leveraging it to its maximum potential.
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