As we have moved from ICD 9 to ICD 10 codes from October 2015, now we can easily tell which one is good for medical coders. As I am a medical coder, I am just putting my point of view, which can differ from other coders. I really like ICD 10 codes that are far better than ICD 9 codes. There has a lot of difference in ICD 10 and ICD 9 codes, but I still enjoy coding ICD 10 codes. I am still trying to be perfect in ICD 10 coding, because the amount of ICD 10 codes we have, makes us to learn a new thing every day. Since, I am using these ICD 10 codes from last few months I would like to share a few important points about ICD 10 codes.

Why ICD 10 codes are much better than ICD 9

Read also: How to become perfect in coding Medical report

Specificity of ICD 10 codes

Being a coder from last 8 years, I have coded ICD 9 and ICD 10 codes both. When I compare both of them, I see a huge difference between ICD 9 and ICD 10 code. ICD 10 codes are very specific compared to ICD 9 codes. If I have to give an example, just try to code a pregnancy complication code in ICD 10 and ICD 9 code. In ICD 9, you have to code only one ICD 9 code for complication, but ICD 10 we have to code complication followed by a weeks of gestation (Z3A category) code as well. So, pregnancy complication codes have to be coded with Z3A category codes to specify the weeks of gestation of the pregnancy. If you want to know more examples of specificity just search for below ICD 10 codes as well as their ICD 9 codes, you will know how different and specific they are.

ICD 10 codes for Deep Vein Thrombosis

ICD 10 codes for Injuries

ICD 10 codes for Osteoarthritis


ICD 10 codes for Degenerative disc disease

ICD 10 codes for spondylosis

ICD 10 codes for Neoplasm

Read also: Common Mistakes by medical coders in ICD 10 coding

Gaining knowledge with ICD 10 codes

When I was using ICD 9 codes, I used to search a diagnosis code and assign it. In short, I was just gaining limited knowledge. However, in ICD 10 codes, I have seen searching an ICD 10 code will itself help you to gain more knowledge compared to ICD 9. Now, you must be thinking how you can gain more knowledge in ICD 10 than in ICD9. The main reason for gaining knowledge, while using ICD 10 codes is there specificity. For example, while coding injury codes for in ICD 9 we use to use only one diagnosis code, without thinking about whether it is a current injury or a late effect. However, now you can see medical coders who are using ICD 10 codes, are having tough time for coding injury codes. Yes, ICD 10 codes we have specific codes for initial encounter, subsequent encounter and sequela. This makes us to learn more whether it should be coded as active injury or subsequent injury or a late effect. I am still struggling with this topic, but this is the best topic to learn for ICD 10 coders. Other example which I love to codes are the diabetes complication codes, pressure ulcer codes, glaucoma ICD 10 codes etc. if you see these codes, they have specific codes for specific diagnosis, which were never existed in ICD 9 codebooks.

ICD 10 codes are User-friendly

When coders are struggling to code ICD 10 codes, here we are trying to call them user-friendly, very strange! However, I always try to see the positive side and ICD 10 are very friendly with coders. The introduction of Excludes 1 and Excludes 2 helps you to exclude and include a code respectively, if required. In ICD 9, we never come across such concept. In addition, ICD 10 codes keeps guiding us using “code also” or “code first” to code the correct diagnosis code. Even for coding sepsis, severe sepsis and septic shock, we have proper ICD 10 coding guidelines, which really help in perfect diagnosis coding. In short, ICD 10 codes have everything you want the only thing you have to accept and follow their coding guidelines. Once you follow the guidelines, you will know how easy to use them in medical coding.