Pilot Study Reveals Common ICD-10-CM/PCS Coding Errors

Results of a national ICD-10 CM/PCS coding pilot program found that coders using the new system produced accurate coding less than two-thirds of the time, according to a new report.

In a pilot coding project sponsored by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), certified ICD-10 coders coded donated de-identified patient records as test cases.

Lisa Gallagher, vice president of technology solutions at HIMSS, told Modern Healthcare that it would be unfair to blame coders for negative results because, “It didn’t mean that the coder didn’t know what they were doing,” Gallagher said. “It may have meant the medical documentation was not precise” and subject to differing interpretation. “It was a process. If we say the coder made a mistake, that’s not an accurate way to portray it.”

Among the most common errors, researchers found, was that coders frequently confused the number “0” (zero) with the letter “O,” and the number “1” (one) with the letter “I.” Additionally, coders “went on auto pilot,” by relying on coding software rather than coding books, the report found.

“Among the most critical aspects of implementing the ICD-10 transition is the challenge and complexity of end-to-end testing,” the report states. “This is a challenge weighing heavily on the minds of payers, providers, vendors and business partners alike as it is perceived to be costly and burdensome—requiring trained personnel, a well-planned and fully funded testing plan and process and possibly the assistance of external support.”

Click here to read the full HIMSS/WEDI report.


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  1. I am available to receive free training to volunteer at any facility.

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