Jeff Stark, MD: How ICD-10 Codes Affect nr-ax-SpA Treatment

Jeff Stark, MD, discusses how ICD-10 codes for nr-ax-SpA affect patients and providers.

Clinical systems often lag behind clinical understand. Because of this, it is possible for there to be gaps in treatment.

With nonradiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr-ax-SpA) finally being indexed as an ICD-10 category, it gives providers a chance to get patients with the disease on the most accurate and appropriate treatment course.

Even without proper ICD-10 codes, there are still multiple US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved therapies for the treatment of the disease. Even though they were approved, there was not a code to properly identify such patients—a clear disconnect.

Patients will appreciate knowing there is an official code for the disease, Jeff Stark, MD, head of US Medical Immunology at UCB, said in a recent interview with HCPLive®.

“The experience they typically have, very sadly, is one of a long and convoluted journey to diagnosis,” Stark said. “And so, receiving an accurate diagnosis and being able to name that accurately is very empowering.”

The new coding has clinical implications as well.

When there are indicated therapies for a disease and a provider cannot properly communicate an accurate diagnosis that aligns with the indication to a payer, it can make it very difficult to achieve access to therapy and treatment.