Two major themes at the AHIMA convention in Atlanta last week were technology and the implementation of the ICD-10 code sets.
Technology is changing the way we interact with our physicians—my doctor carries an iPad around the office as a mobile way to make clinic notes that are later entered into my electronic health record—and the way our physicians interact with other physicians. The concept of “interoperability” is a hot topic right now in health information management. Interoperability allows doctors from one clinic to have access to a patient’s EHR that was created at another facility. This means my primary physician can gain instant, electronic access to my records or images that were created and stored during a recent hospital stay. This allows for a more complete clinical picture of the patient’s medical history, leading to an overall increase in quality of care due to timely information availability. Interoperability is not a widespread reality at the present time, but there are initiatives in place leading the charge on this advancement. For more info on one of these initiatives visit http://www.commonwellalliance.org/.
On the subject of ICD-10, I recently found an excellent article by Ann Zeisset, RHIT, CCS, CCS-P.
In this article she talks about the benefits of ICD-10 and many of the differences from ICD-9 to ICD-10. Her discussion points are concise and very applicable to the job of the medical coder. The full text of the article is available here.
Technology and ICD-10 are bringing big changes to health information management, but these changes are really very exciting and have the potential to do a lot to improve patient care.