What Are the Objectives of the ICD-10 Medical Coding System?


Quick Answer

Increasing the number of available codes, allowing more information to be conveyed by a code, and modernizing terminology are some of the main objectives of the ICD-10 medical coding system. The system allows for 68,000 possible codes instead of the 13,000 codes allowed by the previous system.

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Full Answer

ICD-10 is the tenth revision of the of the International Classification of Diseases and is scheduled to replace the ninth revision on Oct. 1, 2015. Physicians and other medical personnel use this system to make notations in a patient's file and the codes refer to different symptoms, conditions and procedures. The current system, ICD-9, uses five characters of which the first is alphanumeric and the remainder are numeric. ICD-10 uses seven alphanumeric characters, greatly expanding the number of available codes.

With more codes available, more information can be conveyed in a particular code. This allows doctors to be more specific about a particular condition without making notations in addition to the code. For example, the ICD-9 codes only permit the user to communicate a condition, but not the side of the patient that is affected. The ICD-10 system has different codes for the left or right side of the patient. Also, there are codes that are a combination of both symptoms and diagnoses that allow the user to use fewer codes.

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