With the current focus on ICD-10 as a major transition currently impacting the healthcare industry, to some degree we have lost sight of the underlying goal of the transition: to improve the quality of healthcare data in this country for a wide range of uses.

We tend to focus on ICD-10 in the context of administrative codes for payment transactions. Yet some of us seem to have lost sight of the fact that these codes are the only national (and to some degree, international) standard we have to fully define the health state of each patient. Healthcare data cannot be very meaningful if the definition of each patient’s health state relevant to that data is not complete, specific, accurate, and consistently defined. Interoperability of all healthcare stakeholders will be significantly compromised without a standard that meets these requirements.

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