Why ICD-10 is necessary for big data success in healthcare

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While ICD-10 might have codes that seem excessive--like injury via turkey--without its comprehensive codes, doctors will "never detect the one-in-a-million disease when it matters," according to resident physician in family medicine William Rusnak.

With advanced computing power that can record human behavior in vital healthcare situations, we should be able to capitalize on that, Rusnak writes in a recent post for HIT Consultant.

"If a patient suffers the rarest of occurrences or undergoes an abstract procedure, there should be a code for it," Rusnak says. "Likewise, when a physician performs a specific procedure, a code should represent it in detail, including any variations."

These kinds of steps, according to Rusnak, can help doctors collect big data with precision. That data can also help healthcare workers make the best decisions when reporting health outcomes.

ICD-10 also can help give industry professionals a bird's-eye view when tracking events and outcomes, he says.

"Big data is the future and for medicine, ICD-10 is the way to get there," Rusnak writes.

However, the new coding system has been met with myriad controversies. The date for compliance has been pushed back numerous times, with a final date now set for Oct. 1, 2015.

In addition, because of the delays, many in the industry have felt they are left in limbo when it comes to implementation. This in turn has lead to apathy in the industry for ICD-10, according to James Libecco, a single practitioner at Akron Skin Center in Ohio.

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