June 30, 2014

ICD-10 Support is About Clinical Data and Patient Care


There are wide-reaching benefits to clinical data and patient care within the core of the ICD-10-CM/PCS code set, and that is why supporting ICD-10 is the right thing to do. As a health information management (HIM) leader and professional for more than 35 years, I’m extremely passionate about the move to ICD-10 in 2015 due to the simple fact that we need this code set for the clinical data, which will help drive us to better healthcare.


This code set is about the management of diseases and the patient care of our citizens – those who are patients and those that are not. It’s about 21st-century cures, treatment and technologies – other areas in which ICD-10 can truly help. Supporting and advocating for ICD-10 in 2015 isn’t about special interest groups; it’s all about our healthcare, in all settings – and everyone’s support is needed now.

The ICD-10 classification originally was developed by the World Health Organization as an improved way of managing healthcare throughout the world, and going forward ICD-10-CM/PCS will enable United States healthcare professionals, payors, providers, and policymakers to view patient care, treatment, and outcomes in a new and improved way. But it also will allow us to react to those outcomes, which is an added benefit for all. There is no doubt that scientific progress and healthcare technology has changed and is continuing to change, which is a good thing. Now we need to harness this change with the use of the ICD-10 code set in 2015. 

The ICD-10 classification system works to strengthen epidemiological and statistical healthcare data that is used for healthcare research. The World Health Organization stated this about ICD-10 years ago, so the foundation was laid then. Healthcare research should not be taken lightly, as the value of this work is enormous to the industry as a whole, but also to individual patients, families, and future generations.  

Of course, that is not the only critical element associated with ICD-10; there is also clinical data for population health, which requires effective and innovative strategies to perfect. Improved clinical care and reduced costs continue to be on the forefront of the healthcare industry, thus we are focusing more on population health – an approach that specifically aims to improve the health of entire human population. In order for us to achieve this, we need quality clinical data,  which ICD-10 will  provide, but which ICD-9 cannot. So the time is now, not later, and we can’t afford to wait for the next classification.

To help demonstrate this, let’s for a moment think about five health conditions that are very commonplace in the U.S.: asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, neoplasm (cancer), and Parkinson’s disease. These diseases not only affect the patient, but also families and the entirety of the healthcare system. They carry with them a great emotional toll for loved ones as well as the physical and financial tolls for the individual, which are significant.

You most likely know someone with one of these five diseases, and you even may have had personal experience with one or more of them. Some interesting facts: per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asthma occurs in 6.8 million children in the U.S., and the number of non-institutionalized adults who currently have asthma is 18.7 million! Those are staggering figures. We need ICD-10 data to help change the course of healthcare and the ways in which this condition is addressed.

With Alzheimer’s disease, it is estimated that there are 5.2 million Americans (of all ages) who will be affected by it this year, according to the American Alzheimer’s Association – and two-thirds of these sufferers are women. Again, we need ICD-10 data to direct a new course for improvements in care, treatment, and outcomes (and not to mention findings the cause of this disease).

Again, these are just a few examples, but they are far-reaching. We need ICD-10-coded data to help with tracking, trending, treating, and finding cures for these conditions – and so many, many others! I want to see the healthcare workforce (and even those not in healthcare) join in and be passionate about ICD-10 in 2015 for the reasons stated above. The clinical data and quality patient care are what matters; thus, ICD-10 matters, so don’t be apathetic. Let’s all support the advancements that the classification system brings and the great strides in care that need to be made.

We can do this; we can all be champions for ICD-10 patient care and make it happen in 2015!

Gloryanne Bryant, RHIA, CDIP, CCS, CCDS, AHIMA-Approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer

Gloryanne is a coding and HIM professional with 35 years of experience. She is the past president of the California Health Information Association. Gloryanne is a member of the ICD10monitor editor board and is a popular guest on Talk Ten Tuesdays.

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