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Never let it be said that the implementation of ICD-10 has not been exciting.

ICD-10 is still a critical project that will continue to require our full attention. One of the areas of implementation that seems to create the most anxiety is translation. So let’s talk about it.

You’ve probably heard about the concept a hundred times and in several ways, such as mapping, crosswalking, translating, converting, etc. But what does it really mean? And what is the best verb to describe it? I offer, for your consideration, a breakdown of the verbs that are associated with the act of identifying the ICD-10 counterpart for a given ICD-9 code, or vice versa:

  • Mapping – Using a starting point (ICD-9 code) and plotting an end point (ICD-10 code).

  • Crosswalking – Identifying a code that is the equivalent of a starting code (ICD-9 or ICD-10).

  • Converting – Changing policies, processes, and systems from current ICD-9 logic to ICD-10 logic, including the codes themselves.

  • Translating – Using all methods available (including mapping, crosswalking, and converting, along with review of business requirements, clinical equivalence and appropriateness, and standard coding methodologies and guidelines) to identify the equivalent code or codes in ICD-10.


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