Wait Here! Do Not Go To ICD-10, Go Directly to ICD-11

Some providers may be wondering if it would be less time-consuming and more cost-efficient to jump from ICD-9 to ICD-11. The World Health Organization is supposed to present the ICD-11 code set in May 2017. That's only a year and half after the United States implements ICD-10. So why not wait?

At eMDs, we believe waiting is a flawed approach.

  • There are costs and consequences to continuing using the outdated ICD-9 coding system.

  • ICD-9 is obsolete and no longer reflects current clinical knowledge, medical terminology, or the modern practice of medicine.

  • Our healthcare data deteriorates the longer we stay on ICD-9. This at a time when we are putting more emphasis on high-quality data to support healthcare initiatives to improve care delivery and reform payment.

  • It also hinders our ability to gather clinically relevant and internationally comparable data.

  • More delays will only increase the costs of conversion.

It’s also important to note that ICD-11 will not be ready for use right out of the gate.

Think of all the adjustments the U.S. had to make to the ICD-10 code set to get it to work with our reimbursement and reporting needs. That's why there so many more ICD-10-CM codes than ICD-10 codes. The same will have to be done with ICD-11. It will take a number of years for the U.S. government to come up with ICD-11-CM/PCS - some estimating it will not be ready until 2020.

Skipping ICD-10 will also make ICD-11 implementation harder. ICD-10 should be viewed as the building blocks, or stepping stones, for ICD-11.

Sue Bowman, director of coding policy and compliance for the AHIMA, may have said it best, “ICD-10 is the pathway to ICD-11. You have to treat it like you’re building a structure starting with a first floor. You can’t build a fourth one without constructing a second and third.”

The development of ICD-11 will depend heavily on ICD-10 and implementing ICD-10 now will ensure a smooth transition to ICD-11 when that code set is ready.

eMDs believes strongly that there will be no further delays in ICD-10 implementation and we advise the provider community to embrace ICD-10 and push forward efforts for compliance.