Big Data: Why ICD10 coding is inevitable

Carl Natale
by Carl Natale

Big Data will become as important to healthcare providers as sterilization techniques.

It's transforming how business is done is so many industries. National Public Radio's Yuki Noguchi explains, "Analyzing big data enables anything from predicting prices to catching criminals, and has the potential to impact many industries." (Following Digital Breadcrumbs To 'Big Data' Gold)

[See also: Data Mining: The best argument for ICD-10 implementation]

Big Data is going to become even bigger with ICD-10 codes. Specificity will allow data miners to make smarter predictions and analyses. It's going to be a pain to enable. And many experts say it will be about five years before healthcare can realize the benefits. Thus the American Medical Association (AMA) refuses to accept it will improve patient care.

Whether the AMA likes it or not, healthcare organizations are going to use ICD-10 codes so they can start using Big Data to make more money. It won't be a mandate. It will be a survival technique.  Big Data is what lets businesses rise to the top of their industries.

Look for major hospitals and networks to recruit more analysts to crunch these numbers. Guillermo Moreno, vice president of recruiting firm Experis Healthcare, lists ICD-10 expertise as the top skill needed in 2012. Here's the top six skills:

  1. ICD-10/5010 expertise
  2. EMR and EHR implementation
  3. Applications know-how
  4. Security and compliance skills
  5. Data management talents
  6. Business intelligence and analytics abilities

Note that data management, business intelligence and analytics are bringing up the rear. That's because ICD-10 implementation is given priority over analyzing data. No one is going to be able to use Big Data if they don't have the systems that collect it. But at some point, someone is going to ask what they're supposed to do with the data. Analysts who know the answer will be in big demand.

[See also: How ICD-10 can create opportunities for medical coders]

It's entirely possible that medical coders will be able to fill these roles. Their employers will need them to do more than submit claims.Someone needs to understand Big Data and explain how it can lead to better patient care and revenue generation.