The World Health Organization describes ICD as “the foundation for the identification of health trends and statistics globally”. As such, the updated HIPAA legislation requires that all healthcare providers use ICD-10 standard for all healthcare transactions submitted electronically.

ICD is THE standard when it comes to defining and reporting health conditions.

Let’s talk about that.

What is ICD-10?

International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is a universal health standard.

Think of ICD-10 as a huge library of codes, each representing the only national standard that defines a patient’s health status and the accepted procedures that help improve or maintain their health state.

The ten (10) signifies that it is in its 10th revision state.

Serving a Purpose: ICD-10

The goal is national and international interoperability of health care information between providers.

ICD-10 provides much greater details of a patient’s condition.

It translates a patient’s health condition into a unique alphanumeric code that consists of 7 characters.

Under each code, you can find signs/symptoms, abnormal findings or complaints and social circumstances that may be an aspect of a diagnosis.

Furthermore, ICD-10 focuses on the severity of conditions, their complexity level, possible complications, and any other important factor of the patient’s health state.

ICD-10 is a powerful standard that comes with benefits for everyone.

Benefits of ICD-10

ICD-10 is a language that medical professionals and organizations need to get familiar with.

In fact, when you combine it with advanced medical software, you get great benefits:

  • Easier storage and retrieval of information
  • More efficiency analyzing data
  • The ability to easily share information between health organizations in different regions/countries
  • More efficiency in comparing information with other health care providers
  • The ability to monitor incidences of diseases and their prevalence
  • A bird’s eye view of reimbursements and how resources are being utilized
  • The ability to better track safety and quality guidelines

Now you’re looking at those and going, “This sounds great, but, what’s the catch?”

Well, it’s time we talked about why a lot of countries, including the United States, have been hesitant to cross the bridge from ICD-9 to ICD-10.

 The cons of ICD-10

The deadline for ICD-10 implementation has been postponed repeatedly.


Because healthcare providers are uneasy and getting more anxious as the deadline for ICD-10 compliance draws closer.

Here is why:

  • Health care providers would need to buy, install and test new software
  • They then need to train all staff on the new software and the new code set
  • New practice policies and guidelines will need to be developed and implemented
  • All existing documentation (paperwork, forms, etc.) will need to be updated
  • Medical billing process will need to be refined for efficiency (this is probably the most worrisome factor)

Switching to ICD-10 makes sense.

Don’t let the high implementation costs discourage you from making the right move.

If you want a solution to minimize those costs, especially for your medical billing, you should consider our blog post on Outsourcing.

Nonetheless, ICD-10 promotes easy comparability of the collection of health state data; the classification of that data, as well as its processing and presentation.

So take action now, before it’s too late.

 Let us help you understand ICD-10

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