What is ICD-10?

The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is the standard international diagnostic classification system for documenting all general epidemiological conditions. Thanks to its comprehensive nature, it also has many health management and clinical purposes. These include the analysis of the general health situation of population groups and monitoring of the incidence and prevalence of diseases and other health problems in relation to other variables (such as the characteristics and circumstances of the individuals affected, reimbursement, resource allocation, quality, and guidelines).

The International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) was endorsed by the 43rd World Health Assembly in 1990 and adopted in World Health Organization (WHO) member states in 1994. This is the latest in a series which has its origins in the 1850s. The first edition, known as the International List of Causes of Death, was adopted by the International Statistical Institute in 1893. WHO took over the responsibility for ICD at its creation in 1948, when the Sixth Revision (which included causes of morbidity for the first time) was published. In 1967, the World Health Assembly adopted the WHO Nomenclature Regulations that stipulate use of ICD in its most current revision for mortality and morbidity statistics by all member states in.

ICD-10 code set consists of:

  • Tabular lists containing cause-of-death titles and codes
  • Inclusion and exclusion terms for cause-of-death titles
  • An alphabetical index to diseases and nature of injury, external causes of injury, and a table of drugs and chemicals
  • Descriptions, guidelines, and coding resources

ICD-9-CM contains more than 17,000 codes, but ICD-10 contains more than 141,000 codes and accommodates a host of new diagnoses and procedures.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has mandated the replacement of the ICD-9-CM code sets currently being used by medical coders and billers (to report healthcare diagnoses and procedures) with ICD-10 code sets, effective Oct. 1, 2015. Only a handful of countries, including the United States and Italy, have not yet adopted ICD-10 as their standard for reporting.

The change to ICD-10-CM for diagnostic code reporting across all of healthcare—and the implementation of ICD-10-PCS (Procedural Coding System) for inpatient procedural reporting for hospitals and payers—will be the most challenging transition since the inception of medical coding.

AAPC understands the magnitude of the change to ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS code sets. We will continue to provide news and information on the new diagnostic and inpatient procedural coding systems as it becomes available, including AAPC's implementation and training plans. We will regularly add new information and categories to our ICD-10 site, so check in periodically. We'll also be keeping everyone up-to-date on ICD-10 actions in congress, the legislature, or through our lobbying activities. These updates will come in the emails you receive from AAPC and in regular articles in the Healthcare Business Monthly magazine. Keep up with your AAPC news, and you'll stay informed on ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS.

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