By now, we’ve all heard the story of Canada’s approach in implementing ICD-10 which significantly and permanently impacted coder productivity. But that isn’t the only take-away from the transition.  The lesser-known – but more important – story is that the integrity of the data now being captured using ICD-10 codes has changed how we are able to provide care and improved quality.

We’ve been using ICD-10 in Canada for the past 12 years, and what I have found since implementation time is that there are untold benefits of diving into the data.  Information garnered by code analysis been extremely valuable for tracking (for example the efficacy of stroke treatment delivered in the ER and trending, (understanding where accidents happen in the community through external injury codes and lifestyle factors which are related to disease) which is benefiting patients and the physicians who treat them.  In fact, one of our country’s biggest health accomplishments resulting from ICD-10 data analysis was the improvement in primary care for patients with diabetes.  The specificity of the codes enables providers to determine what treatments are yielding the best results and patient outcomes.  And that type of knowledge is priceless.

While the transition to ICD-10 is challenging and impacts nearly every person delivering and receiving healthcare in some way, my advice is to keep your eye on the prize.   Reimbursement is an important aspect of ICD-10, but beyond that, there is a wealth of information that these codes can bring to enhance patient care – all thanks to the richness of the data.  By culling the right information, providers can determine which drugs are having the best results, as well as track post-operative complications and create preventative action plans.  Hospitals and medical facilities can now leverage this information to build out their quality improvement programs, improve their patient outcomes, and create healthier populations.

As someone who has been through the ICD-10 transition already, I can offer you this simple advice: we work in a field where we all play integral roles that impact patient care; although there are challenges ahead, the end result of healthier patient populations is worth it.


What Canada Learned from ICD10




About Doris Gemmell

Doris Gemmell is the Senior Principal Client Support of Coding Solutions at Nuance Communications. To see more posts like this, please visit the Healthcare section of our blog.