Is Your Hospital Diagnosing the Right Codes?
Diagnostic coding is a fast and easy way for physicians, nurses, and other hospital staffers to stay on the same page. By following the latest code classifications, hospitals across the country are staying up to date on patient health and disease protocol.
Here are just a few ways your hospital can implement the best diagnostic coding system:
Importance of Diagnoses Codes
Hospitals use diagnoses codes to identify symptoms, diseases, disorders, medication requirements, injuries, and other medical conditions.
Hospital managers should ensure their facility is using the most current diagnoses codes available. Although this might cause far-reaching change within the medical establishment, it's imperative.
Diagnostic codes are revised every time there is a significant change in healthcare knowledge, which includes advancements in the field of medicine.
If your hospital isn't up to date with its diagnostic coding system, then it's time to get your facility on the right track.
The International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD) is undergoing its 10th revision. Any hospital that's part of the U.S. health care system will be affected by this transition.
If your hospital is still using ICD 9, then it will take time and preparation to make the change. All physicians and nurses as well as billing and coding managers must prepare for the change by learning the new ICD 10 codes.
As the following article, “ICD 10: Ready, Set, Go? looks at, is your hospital ready for the change?
Your hospital staff needs to understand the new codes by reviewing them regularly and keeping an ICD 10 coding pamphlet on them at all times. This is especially the case for doctors and nurses who are on the go throughout the workday.
Your hospital's staff should also be aware that medical software will also change to meet the needs of the new coding system.
Current software will likely be rewritten or replaced to reflect new codes.
If your hospital has an in-house coding department, they need to prepare the facility for the ICD 10 transition by providing the staff with the proper code documentation.
One challenge your hospital and other facilities across the country will have to overcome is code specificity. When implementing ICD 10 codes, you'll find there are more accurate diagnoses codes than with the ICD 9 system.
This will initially cause frustration and even confusion among the staff, especially for doctors who are accustomed to using certain diagnoses-related group (DRG) codes.
However, it's imperative that doctors, nurses, coders, and other staffers use the most specific codes for the conditions at hand in order familiarize themselves with the new ICD 10 protocol.
Preventing Diagnostic Coding Errors
One of the main causes of coding error is carelessness.
This isn't to say your hospital staff is careless, but busy schedules and numerous patients can lead to not using the most specific code possible.
By completely and adequately documenting the patient's condition, doctors and nurses can avoid conflict even if their coding isn't accurate.
With thorough patient documentation, hospital coders can make final diagnoses changes based on the patient's medical records as opposed to just the diagnoses code.
With ICD 10 in full swing, there's no better time than now for your hospital to implement the most effective diagnostic coding system available.
About the author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including healthcare and technology.
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