ICD-10: Don't wait for ICD-11

Q. Could we skip ICD-10 and go directly to ICD-11?
Friday, June 22, 2012

A. Passing over ICD-10 for ICD-11 will effectively result in keeping the current diagnostic coding system for at least the next seven to 10 years. ICD-11 has not been ratified by any government or world health organization. In fact, when ICD-10 was mandated by the U.S. government, ICD-11 hadn’t been conceived. The thought that the government and healthcare industry would adopt the latest ”new” thing in diagnostic coding after taking 20 years to mandate adoption of ICD-10 (which was completed in 1990) is pure folly. 

Delaying change from ICD-9 to wait for ICD-11 could prove more costly in the long run. ICD-10 is a major step in U.S. health care and key to overall reform focused on better patient outcomes at lower costs. The expanded ICD-10 codes will provide a richer data set for meaningful use and outcome-based medicine. The healthcare industry has already invested in ICD-10 following the change to 5010. 

ICD-11 is not ready for prime time. Waiting would mean the investments in 5010 would be for naught. Also, ICD-11 would most likely require yet another EDI format change because it is rumored to be a much more sophisticated code set than ICD-10. ICD-11 is being developed in an Internet age, complete with metadata, in addition to genomic information linked to HUGO, etc. It’s meant for use in healthcare information exchanges, as well as the interconnected healthcare industry in the United States and abroad.

If there is a pervasive mentality of hesitancy to invest in new technology today, based on the fear that there will only be a newer technology tomorrow, our system will become paralyzed.

Gregg Timmons is president and CEO of MedAct Software. Reach him at gtimmons@medactsoftware.com or 800-326-0314.