Code blue

Would there be a code if there had been two recoveries?

Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
Computerworld / IDG

Working at a research facility affiliated with a U.S. government hospital, this pilot fish becomes acquainted with ICD-9 codes for the statistical classification of diseases.

But it bothers him that the codes allow for reporting an issue but not for reporting resolution: There’s a code for having high blood pressure, but none for returning to normal, and there’s a code for a broken right wrist, but none to indicate that it has healed.

So in a review meeting with the researchers, fish asks about their assumptions: “Since there is no ICD-9 for ‘no longer has high blood pressure,’ how do we differentiate the two conditions, just-not-taking-medicine and no-longer-needs-medicine?”

After some discussion, one of the MDs speaks the sad truth: “In my 10 years of clinical practice, I’ve had maybe one person make the required lifestyle changes to get off those medications.”

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