The October 1 deadline to transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 poses special challenges for emergency departments in terms of how medical diagnoses are coded. According to new research, about a quarter of all ER clinical encounters could experience difficulties after the code switchover this fall.

ICD-10 includes more than 68,000 diagnostic codes versus just 14,000 such codes for ICD-9. Researchers looked specifically at the codes most often used by emergency physicians and reviewed how ICD-9 codes map to ICD-10 codes. What they found was that some ICD-9 codes translate well, but many more have convoluted mappings—and some simply don’t map at all.

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