ICD-10 is here. Now what?

Health and Human Services has implemented ICD-10. After multiple false starts, the exponential growth in codes is now hear, but what does this mean? Will the results match the goal of quality medicine? If so, how do we get there?
The biggest question will be whether physicians are willing to convert? For example, many PCPs may choose to retire. Currently, 60% of the PCP visits in the US are handled by doctors who are 65 or will turn 65 in the next three years. Will these physicians adapt or choose to retire rather than adopt ICD-10? This at the same time the Affordable Care Act is expanding the number of people with health insurance.
For the physicians choosing to remain, what is the likelihood of them actually using the specificity anticipated by ICD-10 proponents? Doctors are paid on CPT codes, not ICD codes. Physicians currently do not code with the appropriate specificity when there are 13,000 codes, what makes us think this will improve with 73,000 codes?
One of the perceived benefits of ICD-10 will be in the stratification of healthcare for research. The Public Health PhD’s are ecstatic about the more granular data for research and publication. This could be good IF the practicing MD’s and DO’s are actually coding to the appropriate levels of specificity given in ICD-10 coding. Without complete and accurate coding by the physicians, the data will be incomplete, thus leading to many false conclusions
The adoption of ICD-10’s hinges on a fundamental shift in how a physician’s and their office staffs view iCD-10. Identifying the appropriate codes will require a solution that does not disrupt the patient flow of the office while still capturing the appropriate codes. To encourage the granularity, office staff will need to have prepopulated patient data in the EMR with the appropriate ICD-10 codes for the physicians for legacy visits. This will provide a baseline for the physician and start with the most accurate ICD-10 information possible on the patients. Absent this step, we will never see the benefits of migrating to ICD-10’s.

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