Alicia: Q: The first question came in and it has to do with the ICD-10-CM terminology. There’s two terms that are new with ICD-10: granularity and laterality.

Medical Coding For Granularity and Laterality – Video

A: And pretty simple to explain these, but actually granularity it just means “greater level of detail.” That’s all it means. So, an example of that — and I use this with the ICD-10 course – is that for Barrett’s esophagus in ICD-9, you’d use 530.85. But, in ICD-10 you get there’s three codes that you could use. It’s a great example of showing how there’s more codes in ICD-10, thus a bigger manual, but it’s just more specific. And this is a fantastic example of how patient care can change. With Barrett’s esophagus, there’s more than one level or grade: low means the cells haven’t changed very much, high means they have and more likely they get into the stages of pre-cancer, and then there’s unspecified. With the specificity that you can get to, it shows that treatment can occur faster.

Laterality is what you might think of with lateral movement, it’s bilateral or left and right. Again, another great example of why ICD-10 has more detail. Everything , that is just about everything, that you have two of will have an individual code now. So, let’s say bursitis, if somebody has bursitis, 727.3. But, let’s say you have bursitis of the right hand, before it would be just be 727.3, but now with one code you can tell that it is bursitis of the right hand, the left hand or which hand is not given. It’s amazing how much more detail you can get with ICD-10. Thus, everybody talks about, “Oh, there’re so many more codes.” Well, think about every body part that you have a right and left of, it’s specified now. And anything like the Barrett’s esophagus where there’re additional levels or grades… we’re going to talk later in the glaucoma slide. It gives you a higher specificity, ultimately, better patient care. And laterality, again, it means bilateral left or right; and granularity means the more detailed that you’re able to give. Pretty simple, but you will hear these terms a lot from now on.

Learn More about Medical Coding

Medical Coding Experience – Change is Coming
AAPC – Medical Coding

medical coding

Submit your review

Create your own review

Average rating:  
 0 reviews

About the Author:

Alicia has been working in the medical field for over 20 years. She first learned about medical coding while working in a medical records department at a resort town hospital near where she was raised. Through the years she has held several jobs in the medical field from, CNA, EMT, Pharmacy technician and Medial Records Abstractor and Analyst. Outside of the medical field she has worked as a Real Estate agent, and owned her own on-line retail business. The medical field has always been where she felt the most comfortable. Alicia has taught medical coding, billing and medical law and ethics at a private college. She also did contract work in HCC Risk Adjustment and discovered she really enjoyed ICD work. Because she loves to learn Alicia is working towards her Masters in Health Care Administration with an emphasis on education. Having taken many online classes through the years to complete her degree she feels very comfortable with both face to face and on-line learning. Alicia will tell you that not only does she love medical coding but she has a passion for teaching it. Alicia lives in the middle of Texas with her husband who is a Pastor, five of her six children, three dogs and two cats.

Leave A Comment