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Health council to change coding system

Bermuda’s health providers will next month update how they classify medical problems to help provide better coverage.The Bermuda Health Council announced this morning it would shift its medical diagnostic coding system from ICD-9 to ICD-10, which it said would improve communication of patient diagnoses between health professionals and health insurers.ICD-10, a medical classification list created by the World Health Organisation, contains codes for diseases, symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances and external causes of injury or diseases.It allows more diagnoses to be tracked than ICD-9 and has been adopted by more than 100 countries since 1994.The switch is expected to take place on June 1, with all health businesses ready to make the jump.Tiara Carlington, project manager, said: “The Health Council has a role in ensuring health system data is accurate, up-to-date and provides a reliable basis for system analyses and thus improvements. “As we are seeing with Covid-19, accurate and up-to-date data is an essential tool in keeping people safe. “Migration to ICD-10 has been long-awaited, and we welcome this progress towards making more informed health system decisions.” A spokeswoman for the council said the implementation of ICD-10 has been a phased process.She said: “It included training of local health professionals on the appropriate use of the new codes given the more specific classifications used in ICD-10, compared to the longstanding ICD-9. “It also involved consultation with health professionals, health businesses and health insurers about their readiness to implement the use of ICD-10.”The spokeswoman added that ICD-9 was first introduced 30 years ago, and the medical field and technology has evolved since then.She said ICD-10 provides greater detail and improves the implementation of new technology and procedures.The spokeswoman said: “ICD-10 allows for better international comparisons of quality of care and the sharing of best practices globally and it is more effective at capturing public health diseases than ICD-9. “ICD-10 also allows for better injury research and trauma services evaluation — this includes better reporting on events such as road traffic accidents. “It provides much needed improvements in accurately classifying the nature of injuries and correlating them with cause, treatment and outcome.”The spokeswoman added that better data would help providers and insurance companies improve performance and contain costs, and is more easily accessed electronically.