ICD-9 vs. ICD-10

ICD-10 - Are You Ready?

ICD-10 – Are You Ready?

The deadline for ICD-10 is just a few short months away on October 1, 2015. All payers and vendors have ramped up preparations and you should be doing the same to protect your practice from financial loss during the transition.

If you are under the impression that ICD-10 is simply a revision or expansion of the current ICD-9 codes set, you are terribly mistaken. The long awaited transition to the new code set will bring us up to the international standards that have been in use in most countries since about 1994. Most agree that we as a country have waited far too long to catch up to the world on the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, ICDs.

What are the main differences between ICD-9 and ICD-10?

  1. Number of Codes Available: ICD-9 has about 14,000 codes vs. ICD-10s approximately 68,000 codes
  2. Code Length: ICD-9 range from about 3 to 5 characters vs. ICD-10s 3 to 7 characters
  3. Specificity: ICD-9 lacks detail, with a number “Unspecified” or general region codes. While ICD-10 is very specific
  4. Laterality (Ability to identify right vs. left): ICD-9 lacks laterality while ICD-10 has laterality already incorporated into the code sets
  5. Expandability: ICD-9 had significant limitation for adding new codes while ICD-10 was built to expand the codes sets
  6. Alphanumeric: ICD-9 E & V codes were the only alpha characters with the large majority numeric while ICD-10 is completely alphanumeric using 25 letter of the alphabet.

Advanced planning is key as the industry prepares for this huge undertaking. Stay connected with IPS to receive vital updates from us on upcoming ICD-10 webinars and additional resources to aid in your transition. You can learn more about the implementation of ICD-10 by visiting the American Medical Association ICD-10 Code Set Resources page.


JASMINE VJasmine Vializ is the President and CEO of Integrated Practice Solutions, a billing and practice management company designed to increase the quality of healthcare by helping doctors to prioritize their patients while boosting their bottom line.

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