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ICD-10: The Day Has Arrived... Finally

By: Nextech | October 1st, 2015

ICD-10: The Day Has Arrived... Finally Blog Feature

Way back in 1983, well over 30 years ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) began drafting the 10th Edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10).  It took them just shy of a decade to actually finish the thing, of course, which they finally released in 1992.  The transition from ICD-9 did not happen overnight, though… not by a longshot.  In fact, it would take a number of years before most countries started using it.ICD-10-3The Czech Republic got to the party first, adopting ICD-10 by 1994, with the Netherlands creating and implementing their own Dutch translation that same year.

The United Kingdom made ICD-10 mandatory for the National Health Service (NHS) in 1995.

The Swedish created and implemented a translation of the ICD-10 system in 1997.

Australia came next in 1998, although they didn’t manage to complete a nationwide transition until 1999.

Canada followed suit the next year in 2000.

China adopted ICD-10 in 2002.

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That’s right.  Roughly a decade after ICD-10 was released, only seven countries had successfully adopted it. By 2012, however (yet another decade later), nearly every developed country in the world had managed to implement ICD-10… with the exception of one very big holdout—the United States.

There were earlier attempts in the U.S. to make an ICD-10 transition, of course.  The original ICD-10 implementation date for this country was supposed to be October 1, 2011, but that got shot down well in advance (back in January 2009, in fact) when a two year delay was approved and the deadline got pushed to October 2013.

Then it got pushed to 2014… then yet again to 2015.

Which brings us to this long awaited day—October 1, 2015—the day that ICD-10 comes to town for all healthcare providers, organizations, and health insurance companies in the United States.  Attempts to further delay the deadline have been shot down due to factors such as costs to the healthcare industry and problems caused by ICD-9 coding during the Ebola outbreak earlier this year.

And please let there be zero confusion about what is happening here—


I would imagine some of the more militant ICD-10 opponents are more than a bit upset about the arrival of today’s deadline. Just let them cry it out.  Once their tears dry up, they’ll learn to survive the new coding system (at least, I hope they will).

One very misinformed rumor has been spreading around the internet recently (events like this always seem to bring out some trolls), which claims that a temporary delay to ICD-10 might occur due to a possible partial government shutdown.  The idea that people would go so far as to want a government shutdown just so they can hold off on ICD-10 for a few more weeks is, in itself, completely insane.  The good news is that this claim is also completely untrue.

Let me go ahead and set the record straight here and now—even if the U.S. government experienced a partial shutdown, it would have zero effect on today’s ICD-10 deadline.  If anyone needs further confirmation, just check with the CMS.  Earlier this week, CMS Deputy Administrator Patrick Conway made it absolutely clear to everyone that the ICD-10 implementation is proceeding as planned no matter what happens with the government shutdown.  So we don’t even need to worry about the shutdown (at least, not when it comes to ICD-10. After all… there are plenty of other reasons for us to worry about it).

If you are interested in additional blog articles related to ICD-10 coding, compliance, and/or implementation, click here.

To those who might still be in denial about the ICD-10 implementation, and have perhaps been holding out for another delay, all I can tell you is that it is here… it is happening… and you should probably get ready for it ASAP.

For those of you who were ready to hop on board the ICD-10 train a long time ago… those who breathed a sigh of relief when they woke up this morning and didn’t have their hopes dashed by yet another zero hour delay… it looks like you all can go ahead and throw that incredibly fancy ICD-10 victory party you’ve been planning.

Just make sure you’re done seeing patients for the day first… let’s not get crazy.

EMR/EHR ICD-10 Coding E-Book