ICD-10: Key Changes for Primary Care

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. 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.

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.

Diabetes: Physicians are now required to document type, whether the condition is related to drugs or chemicals or due to an underlying problem, as well as complications and manifestations. ICD-10 requires very specific details and Physicians should use as many codes as necessary to capture the true nature of the condition.
Hypertension: There are separate codes for each complication of hypertension that includes vessels of the brain and the eyes and those involving the heart and the kidneys.
3. Asthma: Physicians must document whether the asthma is mild, moderate or severe, with variations intermittent or persistent, uncomplicated or exacerbated. The physician must also report if tobacco exposure is a factor.
4. Ear Infection: The physician must distinguish between the various forms of otitis media, specify the location, acute vs chronic, any associated perforation and document if tobacco is a contributing factor.
5. Other codes: ICD-10 includes an array of codes that relates to factors that influence health status and contact with health services, such as health hazards due to socioeconomic and psychosocial circumstances – education, literacy, employment/unemployment, obesity, and problems related to lifestyle – tobacco use, lack of exercise and high-risk sexual behavior.

Source: PhysicianPractice.Com

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