Last month's announced delay in the rollout of the ICD-10 diagnostic and procedural codes has received the written endorsement of five noted medical informaticists in an article published online by the journal Health Affairs.
Informaticists make case for ICD-10 delay
The commentary with the self-explanatory title, “There Are Good Reasons to Delay Implementing the New ICD-10 Coding System,” was authored by James Ferguson and by Drs. Christopher Chute, Stanley Huff, James Walker and John Halamka. Ferguson is a fellow at the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy and vice president of health information technology strategy at Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Calif. Chute is a professor of biomedical informatics at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Huff is a professor of biomedical informatics at the University of Utah and chief medical informatics officer at Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City. Walker is chief health information officer at Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pa. Halamka is chief information officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston.
In their commentary, the authors say the delay raises two questions: Does the delay pose “a crisis for the United States,” and if so, “what are the options?” To the first question, they answer, no, saying, on the contrary, the ICD-10 conversion as contemplated will be “expensive, arduous, disruptive, and of limited direct clinical benefit.” While they concede the ICD-10 codes do provide some improvement in more accurately defining and recording clinical conditions such as insulin dependent diabetes, the proposed ICD-10 codes do no better than the ICD-9 codes in current use in documenting some, more modern clinical information, such as genetics.
Meanwhile, as the healthcare industry ramps up its federally incentivized “sustained push” to introduce electronic health records, simultaneously requiring the full adoption of ICD-10 CM would impose “an unsustainable burden on many.”
The authors suggest further delaying ICD-10 implementation to 2015.
Their six-page analysis also will appear in the April issue of Health Affairs magazine.
The commentary follows a survey of health information technology users and developers that came to broad conclusions that supported a delay.
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