Look into the Future with Database Updates

Physician's Money Digest, March 2007, Volume 14, Issue 3

Physicians rely on disease databases for identification and classification in order to promptly care for their patients. The current classification system, the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) was put into place in 1975 and policy makers and physicians have been struggling to update the system with new advances in medicine and new knowledge of disease treatment. A Private Practice Success article relates that a law passed by the House of Representatives in July requires hospitals, health care facilities, and practices to update to the ICD-10 system within 4 years—although Senate or presidential approval is still required. The World Health Organization has been pushing for an update since the West Nile Virus breakout—which they say could have been prevented with an updated classification system and saved patients and physicians a lot of time and money. ICD-9's 13,000-code system would pale in comparison to ICD-10's 120,000-code system, helping physicians with more specific diagnostic codes for better patient care. Learning a new, more specific coding system could be time consuming and disruptive to a private practice, so physicians are encouraged to update computer systems and technology sooner rather than later to avoid a financial and time burden with ICD-10.