CIO: Improved patient care is ICD-10's upside

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David L. Miller, CIO at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, said he sees the shift from ICD-9 to ICD-10 coding--the deadline for which was pushed back one year to October 2014--as "another unfunded mandate," forced upon healthcare professionals by the federal government in a recent post to Hospitals & Health Networks. In that same post, however, Miller also outlines several benefits the switch could prompt.

Patient care, he said, will improve with the increased specificity of the new code set, as the number of diagnosis codes will increase from 13,000 in ICD-9 to 68,000 in ICD-10; additionally, procedure codes will increase from 4,000 in ICD-9 to roughly 87,000 in ICD-10.

"Our ability to use new technologies like genomics and proteomics, in conjunction with the new granularity of information that will be required documentation to support the new ICD-10 coding schema, has incredible potential to focus our efforts in treatments for a whole host of clinical conditions," according to Miller.

In the same vein, he said, as providers start to better understand the impact of differing disorders, improved treatment algorithms will emerge. What's more, Miller said ICD-10 differentiates enables providers, not only by performance, but also by outcomes and costs, all of which cannot be overlooked as the industry shifts to a model that emphasizes accountability.

"The benefits will not be automatic but will require additional efforts on the parts of the providers and the patients they serve to realize all of the possible benefits that could be gained," Miller said.

To learn more:
- read the H&HN post

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