Q:

What is the difference between medical ICD-9 codes and medical ICD-10 codes?

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Quick Answer

ICD-10 codes are more comprehensive than ICD-9 codes and ensure more accurate data and record keeping. ICD-10 has alphanumeric codes instead of just numeric codes, contains five times as many diagnosis codes and nearly 19 times as many procedure codes than ICD-9, according to the CDC.

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Full Answer

Most developed countries have transitioned from ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes. Whereas ICD-9 diagnosis or procedure codes consisted of five digits, ICD-10 procedure and diagnosis codes contain up to seven digits. With ICD-9 diagnosis code, only the first digit could be alphanumeric and the remaining digits were numeric. ICD-10 expands upon this structure and allows for an alphanumeric digit on all seven digits of the code. This structural modification in ICD-10 has expanded the diagnosis coding set alone from 13,000 diagnosis codes with ICD-9 to 68,000 codes with ICD-10, reports Medicaid.

ICD-10 codes provide greater specificity regarding a patient's medical condition and treatment and include more modernized, standardized medical terminology. ICD-10 allows for coding modifications such as reporting the laterality of a condition, and the larger coding set includes codes that group disparate yet related symptoms, thus necessitating fewer codes to report medical claims. In general, ICD-10 improves upon ICD-9 and ensures that health claims are billed more accurately and that population health and morbidity demographics may be collected more efficiently, states Medicaid.

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