Similar to other healthcare professionals, I have been required to use ICD-10 codes for the past several months. Unfortunately, I have been unable to discern any improvement in my patient care, but perhaps I have not used the codes long enough. Certainly, healthcare administrators and statisticians assure me there are several advantages of ICD-10 over ICD-9. It only recently occurred to me—while I was reading a synopsis of the movie, Spectre—that one of these advantages is undoubtedly the more specific coding that can be applied to villain deaths occurring in James Bond (007) movies.
ICD Over the Years
England, the location of MI6 headquarters, has participated in disease classification systems since 1860, when Florence Nightingale made a proposal at an international statistical conference held in London that such a classification system should be developed.
In the 1890s, a French physician, Jacques Bertillon, chaired a committee that synthesized the first classification system of the causes of death that was agreed upon by multiple countries in 1900 at the first International Conference for the Revision of the Causes of Death. At this conference, a parallel classification of nonfatal diseases for statistical use was also adopted.
Approximately every 10 years, these classification systems were revised and updated. By the time of the fifth revision conference, in 1938, the lists for nonfatal diseases and causes of death were combined, and 380 specific disease categories were recorded.
In 1948, at the sixth revision conference, the name was changed from the International List of Causes of Death to the International (Statistical) Classification of Diseases (ICD-6), and in 1955, the World Health Organization took over the maintenance and revision of ICD. By 1975, the ninth revision (ICD-9) expanded the disease classification codes to 13,000, with each code being three to five characters long.
At the time of the adoption of ICD-9 in 1978, 10 of the 24 James Bond movies had been produced. With a “license to kill,” James Bond dispatched many villains—often in weird and unusual ways. Perhaps it is just coincidence, but at about this same time, ICD-9 was felt to be inadequate, and the need for ICD-10 was discussed.
Imagine the difficulty that a coder in 1981 would have had accurately coding the death of the villain in For Your Eyes Only, who dies by being dropped into an industrial chimney in a motorized wheelchair!
ICD-11 has already been written & is expected to be approved & implemented in 2018. The specificity of ICD-11 will certainly be greater, with each ICD category being described by 13 main parameters.
So in 1983, work began on ICD-10, and 68,000 codes—each three to seven characters long—were developed, adopted and—by 1994—used by most nations. The U.S. used abbreviated ICD-10 mortality codes starting in 1999, but did not fully embrace all ICD-10 coding until 2015.