Today I had to explain to one of our hospital administrators how cumbersome and annoying our EMR was. Among the things that surprised her was the use of the ICD10 coding system to input data into the EMR. For those of you that are not in the healthcare field, the ICD (international classification of diseases) is a classification system that was originally used in 1900 by the American Public Health Association to classify causes of death and was revised every 10 years from then on. Later it was used by insurance companies and healthcare researchers too. ICD-9 had 17,000 codes and the current one, ICD 10 now has 155,000.
Every time I have to put into the EMR someone’s past medical history or document a diagnosis, I have to choose from a drop down box (sometimes several drop down boxes) a code from those 155,000. As you can imagine this is quite time consuming to do correctly. Just to give you a little taste of this, if I type “pneumonia” into the problem search box in my hospital’s EMR, I am presented with 67 options to choose from.
Just your delight, here are some of the better ICD10 codes:
V91.07XA: Burn due to water-skis on fire, initial encounter.
V97.33XS: Sucked into jet engine, sequelae
W61.42XA: Struck by turkey, initial encounter
Y92.146: Swimming pool of prison as place of occurrence of the external cause
So the next time you see your doctor’s eyes look like they are about to come flying out of their sockets while he/she is using the computer, don’t be too harsh on them. They did not go to medical school to become glorified data entry technicians, but that is just what we have become.