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Asthma and Patient Engagement: An ICD-10 Marriage

Few relationships in health care equal or trump the intimacy between a health condition and patient engagement than that which will apply to asthma in the wake of the ICD-10-CM transition. The primary reasons are the following:

 

  • The impending ICD-10-CM coding system coincides with the current international asthma classification system – a system devised by an expert panel of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in 2007.
  • The new coding system takes into account the meaningful involvement of patients in the treatment of their asthma.

 

The current ICD-9 diagnosis coding system has three main codes for asthma based on whether or not the asthma is allergic, nonallergic or a mixture of asthma and COPD. The new coding system will be totally different though. Its codes will focus primarily on the frequency and severity of asthma symptoms.

The current asthma classification system rates symptom frequency as intermittent or persistent. Intermittent means that symptoms occur two or fewer days per week. Persistent has three subcategories. They are mild, moderate and severe. Mild means symptoms occur greater than two days per week. Moderate means they occur daily. Severe means they occur throughout the day.

The classification system grades symptom severity based on the following:

 

  • The number of times per week symptoms cause awakening at nighttime
  • The number of times per day a short acting inhaler (rescue medication) has to be used to relieve symptoms
  • The degree to which symptoms interfere with normal activities of daily living

 

The current asthma classification system also uses some other variables to classify the disease. But the frequency and severity criteria make it a suitable companion of the ICD -10-CM coding system whose main codes for asthma signify:

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