"If you look at the mapping of going from ICD-9 to ICD-10, that's much harder than going from ICD-10 back to ICD-9," Branzell says. "Actually I had a discussion with some people today about that. I'd be surprised if, with some exploration, that isn't part of the toolkits brought out for people and suggestions that come out, whether that be from other associations, or ours, or whatever, as a viable option to stay on track, keep your people trained, and just automate back.
"So, if there are, say, 27 codes for a sprained ankle in ICD-10, and there are only one or two in ICD-9, it's pretty easy to backtrack to ICD-9."
I suggested to Branzell that based on a story I wrote last month about CDI in HealthLeaders magazine, coding for ICD-10 now is also consistent with the kind of coding rigor that SNOMED is striving for. In other words, if you're going to stay on track with SNOMED, you're going to be doing better coding anyway.
But Branzell noted that the extra year of delay will raise the specter again of the entire industry waiting a few extra years to move to ICD-11, which is due to be published in 2015.