Decoding The History Of ICD-10

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The formal classification of diseases has been around for nearly two centuries, but this past October the most comprehensive revision yet was made.  Unlike prior editions where only a couple hundred new codes were added to the system, the new ICD-10 boasts thousands more codes and several structural changes. The major overhaul has many wondering the who, what, when, and why of the new ICD-10.

When looking into the history of the ICD, you will find that the United States did not adopt the system until 1898. The request for an international classification system came in 1891 at a conference in Vienna, when The International Statistical Institute asked Dr. Jacques Bertillon to coordinate the project. By 1893 the first ICD was created and implemented in several countries, though at the time it was called “Bertillon Classification of Causes of Death”. The U.S. finally adopted the system at the appeal of the American Public Health Association.

A quick comparison between the ICD-10 and its predecessor show vast improvements:

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Source: American Medical Association

These changes certainly did not happen overnight. Since its creation, ICD revisions typically have taken place every 10 years, but the World Health Organization (WHO) provisioned an extended term for the 10th revision. This was due to their goal of creating an ICD version so comprehensive that further amendments would not be necessary for several years to come. The ICD-10 is still fairly new and did not come into effect until last October, but various opinions are already starting to be formed on its new structure.

Click here for a list of some of the funniest ICD-10 codes.

Sierra Kennedy
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