Friday, January 16, 2009

It's final: ICD-10-CM by Oct 1, 2013

The Department of Health and Human Services issued today a final rule (warning: pdf) mandating the adoption of ICD-10-CM as a code set under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It pushed back the deadline from Oct 1, 2011 (from its proposed rule last August) to Oct 1, 2013.

At approximately the same time, the National Center for Health Statistics released a new, 2009 version of ICD-10-CM that is available here. Instead of the 23MB, 2,392 page PDF file of the 2007 format, we now have an 8.8MB, 2,369 page PDF file. A trimming of 1% on the page count, and a shrinking of over 50% in file size.

The health care industry now has a little more than 4.5 years to find every usage of ICD-9-CM codes in all of its systems, and upgrade and test them to use ICD-10-CM. All the effort spent on that, will not be spent on adopting electronic medical records, devising and participating in pay for performance programs, improving patient safety, automating the reporting of notifiable diseases, chronic disease management, quality initiatives, adopting other information technology standards for true interoperability, and the list goes on.

ICD-10-CM fails every basic requirement demanded of modern technology, terminology, and ontology, and yet it--and previously ICD-9-CM which also fails to meet these requirements--are the only code sets the government has mandated the industry adopt en masse. We suppose it's not surprising coming from a government bureaucracy. But it still is senseless.

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