In an increasingly global society where people and commerce increasingly know no geographical borders, how do governmental health agencies monitor emerging diseases before they become a full-blown pandemic?
Some of you might have already guessed this—ICD-9 diagnosis codes.
The United States and other WHO (World Health Organization) countries are bound to using the International Classification of Diseases code set to be able to better monitor global health surveillance and trends. It’s kind of hard to do if the member countries are not on the same version.
For instance, H1N1 and swine flu started becoming a disease of increasing alarm and worry to governments around the world in 2009. AAPC then proposed new ICD-9 diagnosis codes as well as coding guidelines to better be able to capture these.
Now, a new strain of avian flu called H7N9 is being detected in increasing numbers in China. Although CMS has done a partial code freeze of ICD-9 with regular updates having ceased on 10/1/13. It will be interesting to see if a new ICD-9 diagnosis code is created prior to 10/1/14.