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ICD-10 Coding: Paving the Way to Better Data Analytics in Healthcare

May 21, 2015

ICD_10_and_analyticsThere have been many types of healthcare data used within the public health industry for many years.  Way back in the 1600s, when the Black Death took place in London, there were weekly Bills of Mortality posted so that the public could see where the disease was spreading.  In today’s age and time, though, healthcare data is distributed by many agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the World Health Organization.  And not only is the data distributed by these entities, but it’s also collected and analyzed, which enhances the overall effectiveness of today’s healthcare practices.  

It’s important to keep in mind that analyzing healthcare data is not limited to small types of infectious diseases.  There are many forms of chronic disease that benefit from the analyses of healthcare data, including both diabetes, allergies and asthma.  For those who suffer from a chronic disease, it is likely that you are already being monitored in regards to your healthcare data.  Every time you go to the doctor, the data is most likely reported to the appropriate agencies that perform healthcare analyses.  You can identify which agencies the information is being reported to by looking at the HIPAA policies you have signed. 

In relation to the medical physicians themselves, they are now required to be more specific in their diagnoses thanks to the ICD-10 transition. And although many medical facilities, as well as the American Medical Association, are not pleased with the new code sets because it adds a financial burden to many smaller medical practices, the codes are meant to improve patient care.  All physicians need to carefully consider the ways in which today’s healthcare data can be analyzed to achieve better patient treatments.  Even though the cost of collecting and analyzing the data may cause profit levels to be reduced, patient care will be enhanced, which should be the top-priority for any medical practice. 

When data analytics are introduced into a healthcare setting, there are ways in which the overall results can help lessen the overhead costs of operating the medical facility.  The seven primary benefits to be gained from data analytics in the healthcare industry are: 

  • Budget facilitation improvement
  • Augmentation of wellness initiatives
  • Enhanced ability to identify disease trends
  • Greater insight into the overall health of society as a whole and in different segments
  • Proper observation
  • Better operative reports
  • Improvement in clinical documentation

It is through data analysis tactics that physicians can use the data to improve their overall operations.  There are many small pieces of data that must not be overlooked as they can leverage data into action, thus resulting in reduced operational expenses and improved patient outcomes.  

Another valuable benefit that data analytics bring to the healthcare frontier is the ability to scale according to the amount of data being analyzed.  Whether it be 20 patients or 2,000,000, data analysis software can identify trends.  It is highly expected that ICD-10 will majorly influence the way in which data is not only captured but the amount of data that is captured, too.  Most importantly, it will lead physicians to better examine their internal protocols, enticing them to update any out-of-date practices.  

The Takeaway

In order to collect better data, it is highly recommended that all medical facilities make the switch to ICD-10 coding guidelines.  While ICD-9 was appropriate for older medical practices, advancements in technology and the ability to analyze data have made it necessary to update the ICD codes.  After all, it is better data that paves the way to better patient care.  


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