It may feel as though we have been perpetually counting down to ICD-10—the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision—but the clock is finally running out. After the initial 2009 decision to switch and two year-long delays, Oct. 1, 2015 now marks the official “go live” date for the significantly revised and expanded coding language. By the time this issue of ENTtoday goes to press, the clock will read less than 30 days.
Explore this issue:September 2015
As with any major process change, ICD-10 comes with both benefits and challenges. On the plus side, it carries the potential for increased international collaboration, the collection of more detailed health data, and more precise documentation of the patient experience. Ultimately, this should lead to better analysis of disease and its progression, facilitate better quality of care, and improve treatment outcomes. It’s also expected to contribute to epidemiological research and population health management.
“One of the greatest benefits of ICD-10 is that there are improved descriptions of patient illnesses,” said James C. Denneny III, MD, executive vice president and CEO of the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) and the AAO-HNS Foundation (AAO-HNSF). “Better descriptions mean better data to help physicians treat patients more effectively. ICD-10 codes extend beyond the classification of diseases and injuries to include risk factors, too. The codes have been updated for the clinical practices of today, and the structure of ICD-10 allows for greater expansion of codes in the future.”