A problem with ICD-9 is the lack of specificity in the information conveyed in the codes. For example, if a patient is seen for treatment of a sprained or strained ankle, there are only four possible ICD-9 diagnosis codes.
However, under ICD-10, those diagnosis codes for a sprained or strained ankle expand to 72, including multiple new codes that distinguish between right and left ankle, as well as codes indicating initial encounters, subsequent encounters, and sequelae encounters, according to Cognizant Technology, an IT services firm that provides ICD-10 remediation work for healthcare providers and payers.
This greater detail in diagnosis codes allows for richer analysis down the line. It also reduces the chance that payers, upon submission of claims, will request additional information from physicians about why a patient was seen multiple times for sprains.
Image credit: Image courtesy of Cognizant Technology.