Medical Coding For Granularity and Laterality – Video

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

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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.

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