Transitioning successfully to the new ICD-10 code set will be particularly important for primary-care physicians. ICD-10 will allow primary-care specialists to more accurately depict chronic conditions as well as other commonly reported diagnoses.
Physicians will need to be more specific in their documentation than they likely have been in the past. Because there will be a greater number of code choices in ICD-10, physicians should have to choose an unspecified code less often. The greater specificity in diagnostic coding should help improve disease management and reporting overall.
Practices should examine their top diagnoses and compare how those codes will change once ICD-10 goes into effect: Oct. 1, 2015. Here are some diagnoses to which primary-care providers should pay close attention. This is certainly not an all-encompassing list, but is an example of some of the common diagnoses often reported by these physicians.
Converting to ICD-10 may be a challenging transition for many practices. However, it's likely that physicians will recognize its benefits over time. ICD-10 is certainly more complex than its predecessor, but in this changing world of health care economics, its increased specificity should prove beneficial to you and your practice.
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Mary Jean Sage is president and founder of The Sage Associates a leading multispecialty provider of health care management services. Sage can be contacted at [email protected].