If you get a kick out of watching diagnosis codes fight head-to-head in the boxing ring—hypothetically at least—then you’ve come to the right blog post. We’re six months out from ICD-10 implementation, and it looks like ICD-9 doesn’t stand a chance of winning (not even by way of another SGR fix). As you size up the competitors, there’s no doubt that the ICD-10 diagnosis code set is bigger and badder than its predecessor. It weighs in with nearly 70,000 codes—five times more than ICD-9’s set includes. And if you’re placing your bets based on that sheer size difference alone, then this might not seem like much of a fair fight. But keep in mind, knocking out your opponent requires more than basic brawn; you need smarts, too. Without further ado, here’s why, in the match-up against ICD-10, ICD-9 is ready to throw in the towel:
ICD-9 is a Bleeder
Okay, so ICD-9 isn’t vulnerable to actual wounds, but there are several reasons the old code set needs some cleaning up:
- ICD-9 is significantly older than ICD-10, but that doesn’t mean it’s wiser. In fact, at more than 35 years old, it’s simply outdated when it comes to modern healthcare standards.
- With only 13,000 codes, the set lacks specificity as well as the flexibility necessary for adapting to future healthcare developments.
- Because the current code set is so limited, much of the diagnosis data is inaccurate. And another jab? That incorrect data further fuels distorted reimbursements.
ICD-10 Goes the Distance
ICD-10 doesn’t rely on haymaker tactics, throwing wild punches to knock out its opponent. The new code set is extensive by design and has five times as many codes as ICD-9 (with mortality and morbidity data to boot). It’s complex, flexible, and designed to accommodate evolving healthcare documentation standards. The specificity of of the new code set allows for:
- accurate data measurements of everything from quality of patient care to outcomes.
- clearer clinical research.
- more effective detection, verification, and response to public health threats.
- fewer coding errors.
- easier identification and prevention of healthcare fraud and abuse.
- reduced claim rejections.
- accurate provider performance-tracking.
And the Winner is?
ICD-10 KO’s ICD-9. I don’t know which contender you put your hypothetical money on at the beginning of this post, but I hope you’ve come out a little richer—at least in knowledge—in the end. Are you still a diehard fan of ICD-9? Check out this post and download the infographic to see why you should readjust your betting strategy. Do you have questions? Comment in the section below.