September 28, 2015


At Aria Marketing, we are very much aware of the impending ICD-10 deadline (October 1!!), as most of our clients will be affected in some way. But, for our PR industry colleagues who may be focused on verticals other than healthcare IT, and have no idea what ICD is, consider this a quick primer.


ICD stands for the International Classification of Diseases. Maintained by the World Health Organization, ICD is an international healthcare classification system that provides diagnostic codes for classifying diseases and other health problems. As you can imagine, there are thousands of these codes, which are not only used for diagnosis and tracking, but for reimbursement and resource allocation as well.


Now, as we all know, the healthcare industry is constantly in flux. As such, the ICD is revised periodically to keep up with changes in medical practice. It is currently in its tenth revision (thus, ICD-10). While much of the world has already adopted ICD-10, the US has been dragging its feet, which is understandable considering the massive undertaking required to ready our technology infrastructure to handle thousands of new codes. But, finally, on October 1, the US will officially transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10.


So, after years of preparation and delays, it’s finally “go-time”. There are sure to be bumps in the road, but this transition is certainly for the best.


Now, for those of you reading this post who actually know and care about the transition to ICD-10, we wanted to share a list of recommendations that we recently worked on with our client, ZirMed®. If you are a healthcare provider, or know/work with providers, feel free to use and share these timely tips to help manage the chaos:


  • Develop a list of commonly used codes. Determine which diagnoses are most commonly used by the organization and create a chart with the correct ICD-10 codes as a quick reference to save time and reduce errors.
  • Create a master list of ICD-10-related assignments. Designate responsibilities ahead of time to reduce staff confusion and frustration post-transition.
  • Prioritize denied claims. The shift from ICD-9 to ICD-10 is expected to increase denials significantly. Providers should focus on appealing those claims that have the most significant revenue impact and the highest success rates and let the less impactful denials slide.
  • Assess organizational workflow and revenue impact. Plan to track the organization’s performance during and after the transition. Identify problem areas quickly and take corrective action.
  • Set staff up for success. Schedule fewer appointments the week after October 1 to allow extra time for coding and training questions. 


We at Aria wish everyone affected a smooth transition to ICD-10. Here’s looking to 2018 and the release of ICD-11!

Blog post written by:
Ross Homer
Author: Ross Homer
Senior Vice President