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Chest. 2010 Jul;138(1):188-92. doi: 10.1378/chest.09-1342.

International classification of disease coding for obstructive lung disease: does it reflect appropriate clinical documentation?

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  • 1Division of Pulmonary Medicine, St. Francis Hospital-The Heart Center, 100 Port Washington Blvd, Roslyn, NY 11576, USA.


International Classification of Disease coding is widely used by physicians, hospitals, health-care payers, and governments to assess the health of populations and as a means of reimbursement for medical care based on diagnosis and severity of illness. The current classification system, International Classification of Diseases, 9th ed (ICD-9), will soon be replaced by International Classification of Diseases, 10th ed (ICD-10). When the codes that relate to COPD and asthma are examined, the clinical relevance of the categories in International Classification of Disease coding must be questioned. In the future, a more simplified terminology that is consistent with clinical usage could improve accuracy and ease of coding. At present, however, clinicians should become familiar with the present ICD-9 and future ICD-10 codes so that their descriptions of illnesses in the medical records more accurately reflect current coding terminology.

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