Today has started a new medical system change, which demands for doctors to assign new codes to each injury and illness they diagnose. The most detailed codes go for the most unusual injuries.
This measure has been considered the biggest change to happen to the medical profession in years, since it has been more than a decade in the making and expands from about 14,000 codes to 68,000. However, few people outside of the profession have heard about it.
“When Obamacare launched, it came with all these headlines, but it only impacted a few million people. These are changes that impact every single individual who uses the health care system,” said Dr. Michael Marks, an orthopedic surgeon, to CNN. “Some people have compared this change to Y2K, but nothing happened with that; it was all a big build up to nothing. But this is real, and I don’t know if everyone really is ready for it.”
Although this change could improve the quality of medical care, Dr. Marks believes it will delay the insurance approval for the MRI patients need and their doctor’s appointment since it takes more time to record the data. Rather than seeing six patients an hour, Marks said he could only see five. That is why he has recommended other doctors to put up signs in their offices to inform their patients.
But why is it needed?
Apparently, the new system has been installed for several reasons. First of all, with this update, experts can better understand health trends and better anticipate outbreaks.
Secondly, the data recollected could also help understand how people get hurt at work, information that can be used by government agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to make recommendations on how to make offices safer.
On the other side, designers will be able to look and compare the number of right and left foot injuries in car accidents and see ways they can adjust some parts of the cars to make them safer.
Big efforts for bigger changes
Since the new measure was announced by the government, doctors and hospitals have been undergoing several efforts to make it more efficient. Staff members have been trained and computers upgraded with new systems.
For instance, Marks has traveled the whole country to give speeches and guidance on how to apply the new codes, since his medical field will see the most code changes.
However, it will take time and a lot of more efforts to get used to it. According to Marks, some offices may not be ready for it. A large orthopedic practice group found that 80% of the codes they tested came up incorrectly in their system.