Washington Hospital's electronic medical record will soon have more
detailed information about diagnoses and treatments in the medical records
of hospital patients and patients will benefit from the more specific
diagnoses provided by the enhanced system, according to Michelle Smith,
EPIC Director, Ambulatory Clinical Applications.
The upgraded coding system will allow physicians to understand a patient’s
medical issues much more quickly, she explained.
“For example, if a patient has been treated for stomach pains and
subsequently has gone to the emergency room because his/her condition
has taken a turn for the worse, the ER doctors can quickly obtain prior
detailed diagnostic details from the patient’s electronic medical
records,” Ms. Smith said.
“This means appropriate treatment can begin much more quickly and
the patient’s medical records subsequently will include a detailed
report of the ER visit.”
ICD, or the International Classification of Diseases, is the standard international
diagnostic tool for health management, clinical management, epidemiology
and reimbursement systems. Under the auspices of the World Health Organization,
the ICD system is used by 117 countries throughout the world.
Washington Hospital, along with other hospitals and medical providers throughout
the United States, is upgrading its ICD system to allow for more detailed
coded descriptions of medical diagnoses. The current system, ICD-9, allows
for 13,000 codes; the upgraded ICD-10 will increase the number of codes
to 63,000. Codes for different medical procedures have been increased
from 4,000 to 87,000.
Not only are the number of codes increased but the length of each code
has been increased from five digits to seven digits.
“The increase in number of codes and the length of each code will
allow a more detailed yet concise diagnosis and treatment description
to be included in a patient’s medical records,” added Mark
Moran, Executive Director of Information Services. “All of this
will result in a more accurate patient story for all healthcare providers
leading to improved patient care and a healthier community.”
The ICD-10 upgrade also will provide much better information for:
• Conducting research, epidemiological studies and clinical trials
• Setting health policy
• Measuring quality, safety and efficacy of care
• Tracking public health and risks
• Improving financial reimbursement systems
• Preventing and detecting healthcare fraud and abuse
• Managing the use of resources
• Providing needed information for operational and strategic planning
and for designing improvements in healthcare delivery systems
Washington Hospital continually works to upgrade its systems and procedures,
Ms. Smith said. The ICD-10 upgrade will keep the hospital on the cutting
edge of health care, consistent with the hospital’s primary mission
of providing the very best care for its patients and all residents of