Healthcare data standards point to the basic informatics element essential for the flow of information via the national health information setup. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) is a frequently utilized healthcare data standard whose key purpose is to promote a common language in the collection, recording, processing, classification, and presentation of statistics allied to morbidity and mortality internationally (CDC, 2015). This paper will address the pros and cons of this standard, its comparison to other standards, and its implications for various users.
Several prospective benefits accrue from using ICD-10 in collecting and exchanging morbidity and mortality data. This standard promotes enhanced accuracy since it comprises detailed and specific codes that upscale comprehensive data collection. Besides, the accuracy attained through ICD-10 promotes better claims processing to reduce claim denials resulting from erroneous coding of medical events. Also, this standard promotes improved quality of patient care as physicians are able to make better-informed diagnoses from the comprehensive and accurate data collected. Additionally, the better detail, including the severity and complexity of diseases obtained through this standard, facilitates better tracking of specific conditions (CDC, 2015). As well, increased efficiency can be realized through ICD-10 since the designated codes streamline the collection and exchange of data, reducing the delays that may otherwise occur in drafting treatment plans and compensations. ICD-10 promotes standardized data collection, creating uniformity that provides better visibility of patient information, thus easing the tracking of electronic patient records.
It is imperative to acknowledge that there are some limitations associated with the use of ICD-10 in data collection and exchange. For one, the standard is very expansive, containing 150,00 codes, which necessitates training to equip staff with appropriate knowledge and skills to promote accuracy in the collection and exchange of data. Moreover, the standard is quite complex and, therefore, associated with tendencies to slow down administrative processes, especially during the transition phase, as physicians and billing specialists familiarize themselves with this documentation style. Additionally, there are increased risks of miscommunication when using this healthcare data standard, especially if appropriate training of stakeholders, payers, and providers is not accomplished (Burles et al., 2017). This may, in turn, compromise the accuracy of the data collected and exchanged.
Comparing ICD-10 to other healthcare data standards, it is critical to appreciate that it is more comprehensive than its predecessor, ICD-9. However, when it comes to other collections of medical data, such as the SNOMED CT, the ICD-10 is more general as it contains a mono-hierarchical structure, while the SNOMED CT consists of a poly-hierarchical structure (Aymé et al., 2015). Nonetheless, this system is more suitable for long-term data tracking since it takes approximately ten years to be updated, unlike the SNOMED CT, which is updated bi-annually (SNOMED International, 2022).
Undoubtedly, healthcare data standards promote accuracy, reliability, and interoperability in the exchange of data across and within healthcare organizations, propagating numerous implications for various stakeholders in the healthcare industry. Patients benefit from increased safety as the data collection accuracy promoted averts medical errors. Healthcare providers relish the benefits accruing from the increased efficiency created by the uniformity in the data collected and exchanged. Besides, they are able to elevate the quality of care offered by utilizing the comprehensive data collected using these standards to make better-informed diagnoses (CDC, 2015). Moreover, the standardized data lessens the work of policymakers in analyzing various health indicators to note the challenges in healthcare and develop potential solutions.
Aymé, S., Bellet, B., & Rath, A. (2015). Rare diseases in ICD11: making rare diseases visible in health information systems through appropriate coding. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases, 10(1), 1-14.
Burles, K., Innes, G., Senior, K., Lang, E., & McRae, A. (2017). Limitations of pulmonary embolism ICD-10 codes in emergency department administrative data: Let the buyer beware. BMC medical research methodology, 17(1), 1–8.
CDC. (2015). ICD – ICD-10-CM – International Classification of Diseases,(ICD-10-CM/PCS Transition. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/icd/icd10cm_pcs_background.htm
SNOMED International. (2022). Frequent releases of SNOMED CT International Edition support greater interoperability. SNOMED International. https://www.snomed.org/news/frequent-releases-of-snomed-ct-international-edition-support-greater-interoperability