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Little enthusiasm for ICD-10
Healthcare entities were not thrilled about ICD-10 even before recent announcements from Health and Human Services delaying implementation from October 1, 2013 to a year later. The delay has done nothing to dampen discontent over converting to a system seen as not worth its immense expense and trouble.
Writing in the March issue of Health Affairs, five well-regarded experts from highly regarded institutions say the ICD-10 conversion is “expensive, arduous, disruptive, and of limited direct clinical benefit.” They cite a study which found ICD-10 codes did not outperform ICD-9 codes in capturing clinical data, and they contend ICD-10 is materially flawed because it does not account for genomic information.

The commentary was written by Christopher Chute, MD, Mayo Clinic; Stanley Huff, MD, Intermountain Healthcare; James Ferguson, Kaiser Permanente; James Walker, MD, Geisinger Health System; and John Halamka, MD, Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. The authors point out that while ICD-10 will update coding, it is based on an international version introduced more than two decades ago. They contend SNOMED-CT is a much superior clinical coding language, and the forthcoming ICD-11 is based upon it.

Other observers have picked upon the theme and pointed out since the U.S. was late in adopting ICD-9, it will be late in implementing ICD-10, and will thus lag other countries in converting to ICD-11. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, the World Health Organization, which publishes the International Classification of Diseases, expects to have the beta draft of ICD-11 out this May. After comments and suggestions from international healthcare stakeholders, ICD-11 will be presented to the World Health Assembly by May 2015.

Robert Tennant, senior policy advisor at MGMA-ACMPE, an association for professional administrators and leaders of medical group practices, told Becker’s a U.S. version of ICD-11 would be ready within several years after WHO publishes its final draft. Observers grumble that with ICD-11 on the horizon, ICD-10 appears to be an even bigger waste of time and money.

Nevertheless, the U.S. is committed to ICD-10 and providers have no choice in the matter. They should get busy, says Kerry Stark, senior director of revenue cycle management for VHA. "As anyone who has been involved with the conversion can attest, it is indeed a daunting project, requiring painstaking attention to detail, diligence in communication and an ongoing focus on virtually every interconnected hospital system and process," he told Becker’s.