ICD-10 for Busy Physicians: 80/20 Coding for ICD-10

March 12th, 2012 / By Rhonda Butler

I am going to be brief about the recent HHS announcement to delay ICD-10 implementation. Fighting ICD-10 implementation is roughly as old as ICD-10, and the AMA and MGMA won this round.  I only hope that whatever comes down the regulation pike, they will get some benefit that was worth the political capital spent on delaying ICD-10.

If an “unfunded mandate” becomes an “unfunded mandate delayed for two years,” whatever it is about ICD-10 that seems intolerable will still be there waiting. So let’s make use of whatever time we have. I will continue to share what I know about ICD-10 in the hope that it will make the transition easier for physicians.

As with just about every endeavor, the 80/20 rule can be applied to learning ICD-10 terminology for the needs of your practice. Your practice spends 80 percent of its time on the most common types of patients treated in your area of specialty. The remaining 20 percent include a variety of the less common and more complex cases. The latter cannot be handled as efficiently — in care and treatment or in coding. You deal with them as they come up.

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Rhonda Butler is a Senior Clinical Research Analyst with 3M Health Information Systems.