Have you been to see a doctor since the first of October? Did they seem a bit distracted? It could be due to the new coding system for documenting your various medical problems called ICD-10. It stands for the “International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Edition” and, after two year-long delays, was finally implemented on October 1st. The previous system, called ICD-9, was in use since 1979 in the U.S. but the rest of the world moved on to ICD-10 starting in the 1990’s.
Why is it such a big deal? The new coding system is much more specific. For example there is a different code for the left and right for many conditions, which generally makes sense. This can be cumbersome, however, for problems that affect both the right and left sides such as blepharitis. This very common low grade eyelid infection almost always affects both eyes and both the upper and lower eyelids. With ICD-9, only one code was required but with ICD-10 you have to list 4 separate codes to be completely accurate. ICD-9 had 13,000 separate codes and ICD-10 has 68,000.
At Lakeshore Eye Care we have been dreading October 1st like it was the apocalypse. But guess what? It was no big deal because we had converted to electronic medical records in 2011. Our software company and our staff had made the best of the delays over the last two years so we were all ready for the transition. The new system is more specific and accurate, allowing health care trends to be tracked and public safety improved.
Change is sometimes difficult - at least this time thinking about it was worse than the actual implementation!
Dr. Martha Jay is a board certified ophthalmologist specializing in medical and surgical eye care such as blade-free LASIK and small incision cataract surgery. For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.LakeShoreVision.com.