For ICD-10, electronic health records are the answer

By Walt Whitley, O.D., Jason Miller, O.D., and Chuck Brownlow, O.D.

2014 will be a year of change in the world of coding and regulations. Recently, the Codeheads covered updates to HIPAA regulations and what they mean for your practice. Now, we'll cover the coming shift from ICD-9 to ICD-10.

Electronic health records are the answer.

International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th revision (ICD-10) will replace ICD-9 on Oct. 1, 2014, for reporting medical conditions in patient records and on insurance claims. Although many ODs are familiar with ICD-9, ICD-10 is completely different.

For example, ICD-10 offers more than 70,000 potential choices for coding diagnoses and causes of medical conditions, compared to about 17,000 choices in ICD-9. In fact, the ICD-10 system is so complex that optometrists will need to rely on software to make the right choices.

Electronic health records are the answer

Electronic health records (EHR) software makes the coding process simple. In the near future, you will be able to purchase subscriptions for ICD-10 calculators that take the guesswork out of the process.

Additionally, offices using EHR systems likely will have ICD-10 capability built right in. These systems will automatically choose—or recommend—ICD-10 codes just as they currently recommend ICD-9 codes. These choices and recommendations will be based on the content of a patient's record for the day. EHRs will offer an automatic, single-entry system, converting the words of the diagnoses into ICD-10 codes.

There is no better time than now to prepare for ICD-10. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) offers resources to help you understand ICD-10. You may also want to identfiy your practice's most commonly used ophthalmologic codes and "practice" the new conversions using ICD-10 calculators.

AOA resources cover ICD-10 questions

The AOA offers other go-to resources to introduce you to ICD-10:

  • On Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, at 1:30 p.m. EST, join the webinar "Ask the Coding Experts presents ICD-10: Are You Prepared?" Rebecca Wartman, O.D., will cover what you need to know and what you need to do to prepare for ICD-10. Register online to participate in this informative program.
  • The AOA's ICD-9 "Codes for Optometry 2014" includes a first-of-its kind ICD-10 Coding Primer for Optometrists. Visit the AOA Marketplace to order.

Do you have a coding or billing question of your own? Ask the Codeheads.

December 23, 2013

comments powered by Disqus