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ICD-9 (standing for International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision) is a globally accepted system of alphanumeric codes used to describe diagnoses given to patients. It should be noted that this system not only categorizes the actual diseases diagnosed by healthcare specialists but also includes symptoms, conditions that patients complain about, injuries and mental illnesses.
Until recently, the US healthcare system was using a slightly updated version of ICD-9 called ICD-9-CM (standing for International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification). Even after most countries of the world had switched on to ICD-10 in the 1990s, ICD-9-CM remained in use in the United States until October 1, 2015, when the transition to ICD-10 was finally made. Nevertheless, certain facilities still continue using ICD-9-CM, which means that the US healthcare system will probably remain based on the combination of ICD-9-CM and ICD-10 for a significant period of time.
Additionally, the World Health Organization plans to release ICD-11 in 2017. It’s still unclear whether it will be accepted by all members of the organization or not, as right now it can be said that the implementation of ICD-10 still hasn’t been completed all around the globe.
ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes can be used for a variety of purposes including but not limited to keeping patients’ electronic health records, diagnostic procedures, reporting and billing. They are also used by the WHO to keep track of mortality statistics in different countries of the world.
In countries where most patients have a health insurance, ICD-9 and ICD-10 are widely used for payer reimbursement claims allowing the insurance companies to get a better understanding of what the expected treatment for each particular disease would be like.
ICD-9 code for hepatitis C is 573.3. Surprisingly, this disease along with other types of hepatitis is filed under diseases of the digestive system. The examples of other health conditions from the same group include dental disorders, problems with stomach and intestines, etc. It’s also worth pointing out that the code 573.3 isn’t used to denote hepatitis C exclusively but also covers other types of hepatitis, glissonitis and a few other liver disorders. The full subgroup of liver disorders denoted by the codes between 570 and 573 comprises necrosis of liver, liver failure, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, liver abscess and sequelae of chronic liver disease.
The fact that there are different codes used to denote different types of hepatitis in ICD-10 proves that this is a more advanced and more effective system. Nevertheless, a more detailed classification of diseases means that there are multiple workflow changes involved, which means that the transition was and, for some countries, will most definitely be challenging.
Anyway, the code used to denote chronic hepatitis C in ICD-10 system is B18.2. Note that it indicates specifically chronic hepatitis C while there are also 4 additional codes used to denote acute and unspecified stages of infection with this virus. These are as follows:
Hopefully, the statistical data collected over the years following the implementation of International Classification of Diseases will allow scientists to come up with new, more effective ways of treating hepatitis C as well as other diseases or at least improve the best of those currently in use.