Is Your Practice Prepared For ICD-11?

While some practices are still getting accustomed to ICD-10, getting a grip on new processes and waiting for payments to come rolling in, there’s an updated version of the coding system waiting on the horizon to be implemented.

The ideas of having a new set of codes have elicited some groans already. This is because the US healthcare industry has had a long and very complex tradition to ICD-10. But the good news is that ICD-11 promises to be less complex. It has been designed to be EHR-friendly which will prove beneficial for the Medical Billing Services Providers. It will provide significant improvements on the previous versions and will be presented in a user-friendly format.

In order to give providers enough time to prepare, WHO (World Health Organisation) released the advance preview of ICD-11 on June 18, 2018. In May 2019, ICD-11 will be presented at the World Health Assembly for adoption by Member States. This new code set will come into effect on 1st January 2022. So practices have sufficient time to prepare for the new version and to train health professionals.


Here are some of the key features that can be expected in the new code set:

  • It will be fully electronic which will allow easy integration with electronic data sources.
  • As the disease classification system has been updated, it will remain consistent with the current medicine and science.
  • Since external stakeholders have also provided inputs and recommendations, the development process for ICD-11 has been very collaborative.
  • Compared to ICD-10 that has 14,400 codes, the new edition will have 55,000 codes for diseases, injuries and causes of death.
  • ICD-11 will capture data in a better manner related to healthcare safety. It will help in identifying and reducing unwanted events that can harm health.
  • It will have new chapters, including chapters on sexual health and traditional medicine.
  • Gaming disorder has also been added to the section on addictive disorders in ICD-11.

It has become necessary for Medical Billing Services Providers to start exposing their coders and clinical documentation experts to some of the ICD-11 concepts. This will help them in establishing a comfort level with the new version and enable them to implement the coding set effectively. There are several training videos and ICD-11 beta versions also available online to help practices prepare for the transition in a better manner.

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