ICD-10: Exact Symptom Location Becomes a Huge Deal

Betsy Nicoletti, MS

Disclosures

July 02, 2015

In This Article

Get Ready: It's Coming Soon!

A group can prepare for this specific change to lessen the shock of it in October. Run a list of the most frequently used diagnosis codes and look at any conditions that affect bilateral anatomic parts of the body. Pay attention to conditions on the frequency report that are described in the chart below. Add clinical documentation in current notes that will allow the selection of these more specific diagnosis codes.

If staff is available, begin to revise the unspecified diagnosis matching in the medical history this summer. Start educating clinical staff now about the added specificity needed for the codes used most frequently.

Condition Changes in ICD-10
Neoplasms Increased specificity describing part of body, laterality
Neuropathies and neural lesions Nerves and conditions defined by limb, laterality
Pain Increased specificity describing part of body, laterality
Diseases of the eye and adnexa Laterality; lid conditions, upper or lower
Diseases of the ear Laterality
Peripheral cardiovascular diseases Increased specificity describing part of body, laterality, complications
Skin conditions Increased specificity describing part of body, laterality
Musculoskeletal conditions Increased specificity describing part of body, laterality
Some breast conditions Laterality
Injuries Extensive increased specificity describing part of body, laterality

Be aware that location and specificity are the factors that make coding much more difficult with ICD-10; it will be helpful to you to start becoming more aware of location and to try to notice it more readily as soon as you start treating or diagnosing so that you don't have to go back for a second look or investigation when you are filling out the code.

Additionally, it will be helpful to you to start looking into mapping software so that you can have it ready and have a chance to work with it before ICD-10 begins.

And last, it's good to spend some time practicing some of the major new codes that you typically use—not only you but your staff also. You might even devote an hour to a practice session after or before work one day with your entire staff so that you can all work together to develop the same understanding of the code specifications and other key factors that will affect your coding.

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