Tag Archives: WHO

How is Bird Flu and Other Pandemic Diseases Tracked Globally?

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.



Often in the general discourse of why the United States has to move to ICD-10, it seems like it is being forced upon those of us in healthcare, especially providers.  And the U.S. has the added complexity of the inpatient procedure coding system known as ICD-10-PCS.  The World Health Organization (WHO), the governing body of the ICD code set, did not sanction PCS nor did it have any involvement in its creation or maintenance.  It is strictly for the U.S. as developed by the U.S.  

What in the heck is it?  Why do we need it?

The simple answer (or answers):  to understand how to better develop reimbursement methodologies and therefore drive healthcare policy.

This classification system would help those stakeholders to better understand different aspects of healthcare by better understanding the patient population as it ties to costs and outcomes:

“….[ICD-10-PCS is] a set of tables containing the building blocks for PCS codes. Organized by body system, each body system contains the root operation tables and these tables contain the available choices of body part, approach, device, and qualifier for that root operation. This architecture is tailor made for efficient aggregation, database queries, and policies that can define a patient population with ridiculous ease. ‘All patients who had a laproscopic procedure on the digestive system’ can be stated in this one elegant PCS statement: oD**4**.  In english it says: medical and surgical section, gastrointestinal system, all root operations, all body parts, percutaneous endoscopic approach, all devices, all qualifiers. Written as separate codes, the list would be 1,035 codes long.”

 Read more here.