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(AP Photo/David Goldman)

When President Obama signed another ICD-10 implementation delay into law on April 1, you could almost hear the collective sigh of relief from health care professionals. The new version of the international diagnostic coding system will bring an exponentially increased level of granularity – some health information technology professionals have compared the transition to Y2K.

“The biggest challenges from an automation standpoint will be transitioning systems to accept the increased amount of data – both specifically (ICD-10 codes are longer codes) and in terms of volume due to the large increase in the pure number of codes,” explains Pam Klugman, chief operating officer for Clear Vision Information Systems, which specializes in health care technology, including coding systems. “And from a human resource standpoint, retraining physicians and staff on the additional codes, what they mean as well as the need to be more specific in documentation, is another challenge. And the costs and time to update all coding tools, whether paper- or electronic-based, will be another pain point.”

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