Whenever someone sees a physician or goes to a hospital, any service, treatment or equipment used during the patient “evaluation and management” (E/M) session has to be documented. Without documentation, the healthcare provider cannot make a payment claim to the insurance provider, be the latter government or private. A properly filed insurance payment claim actually requires a list of medical codes representing each service, treatment, etc., for each E/M session. The medical codes are required for the billing.
The United States has primarily been using ICD-9 codes, which is the 9th revision of the “International Statistical Classification of Diseases,” or “International Classification of Diseases” for short. Other countries having been using ICD-10 codes (10th revision) for years, and the code descriptions are available in over 40 languages. This 10th revision was developed about 20 years ago. The United States, though, has lagged behind, and as of Apr 1, 2014, President Barack Obama signed a bill that had just cleared Senate, delaying full adoption of ICD-10 in the U.S. until at least Oct 1, 2015 — after several previous delays — and possibly longer.
ICD-10, however, will eventually be adopted in the U.S., and ICD-11 is looming on the proverbial horizon. Since failure to properly code patient sessions could mean claim denials, payment delays or fines, having tools to help in E/M session documentation is a boon for physicians or the medical coders and billers they often hire. With that, here are 10 Apple iOS mobile and iPad medical coding apps for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Since ICD-9 is still in play until at least Sep 30, 2015, the list below includes apps for both ICD revisions.
- Apps were free in Apple iTunes at the time of writing.
- Some of these apps have either “pro” versions or in-app purchases for additional data and/or features, so “lite” versions may be limited.
- Apps listed here are either (1) iPad-only; (2) iPhone/ iPod Touch (but will work in “2x” mode on iPads); or universal, meaning that you can purchase one version that works on both an iPhone/ iPod Touch or an iPad. Please see iTunes for specifics.
- Mention of an app here is not an endorsement. Evaluate an app first before deciding to include it in your permanent MIBC (medical insurance billing and coding) workflow.
- Some of the apps listed here are available for Android and other mobile device operating systems.
- CPT = Current Procedural Terminology
- ICD = International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (short: International Classification of Diseases)
- HCPCS = Health Care Common Procedural Coding System
- MDM = Medical Decision Making
- MIBC = Medical Insurance Billing and Coding
- RVU = Relative Value Unit
10. ICD9 Consult 2014 Free
ICD 9 Consult 2014 Free offers search and browse capability on the full set of ICD-9-CM codes. You can either scroll through the list of 3- and 4-digit category codes, use the Browser (indexed by category) feature, or use the search feature to enter a code or keyword. Drilling down through categories to a full code displays a popup window with further details about the code. The description can be favorited to code bookmarks. Procedure and modifier codes are available for browsing separately. A paid upgrade to the app removes the advertising banner.
9. MTBC ICD 9-10
MTBC’s ICD 9-10 Converter app does what it says — converts ICD-9 codes that you search for to ICD-10 codes. You can search ICD-9 codes either by the full or partial code, or by keywords. A search filter option lets you choose between “starts with” or “contains”. A search history feature, “Recent ICDs,” keeps track of what you’ve searched for.
8. ICD9 + HCPCS
Upon first use, ICD9+HCPCS asks permission for using your current location. Whether you give that permission or not, you do have to create an account (free) before you can use the app. If you’re just evaluating the app, you can enter “Other” in several of the fields that have to be filled out. Once through that, you can search for ICD-9 codes or drill down from three main groups: ICD-9 Disease Codes, ICD-9 Procedure Codes and HCPCS (Level II) Codes. Drilling down to a code shows the full-description, which you can add to a “billing picklist” (bookmarks). The app also has a handy email feature which pre-populates the email message body with the full description of a code. For security, if you startup up another app on your iPad and then come back to ICD9+HCPCS, it’ll ask you to sign back in, either with the password you entered when creating the account, or with a 4-digit PIN code that gets emailed to you (based on your account registration information).
7. ICD-10 Converter
ICD-10 Converter from Inpracsys has a simple interface that lets you enter a keyword — e.g., ‘diabetes’ — or an ICD-9 code, after which it shows a scrollable list of related conditions to choose from. Once you select a condition, it shows you the full text of the condition, the ICD-9 code and the ICD-10 code, along with relevant similar matches. Since this app’s search feature uses “exact match” for entered text, it is best used if you either know the ICD-9 code or know the ailment description accurately and can pick it out from the suggested results.
6. iCoder 2014 Lite
iCoder 2014 Lite offers drilldown-style navigation of ICD-9 and HCPCS codes. It also has CPT Codes information with prices for the locale you set (see Note below), although the app requires a paid upgrade to get a full license of 2014 CPT codes. (The paid version also gives you access to ICD-10 codes — both through drilldown and search — and many other features.) You can drilldown to or search for (code or keyword) an ICD-9 code, the app only provides a “short description” using abbreviations. Other free features include a list of code modifiers and their descriptions, favoriting (bookmarks) an ICD-9 or HCPCS code, E/M Guidelines, a set (limited) of musculoskeletal diagrams that guide you through codes for surgical procedures, and more.
Note: The first time you use iCoder 2014 Lite, it goes through a “data installation process” of 20 files, which takes a few minutes — assuming you have some sort of Internet connection. This puts code sets on your iPad, to allow offline access. Once the files are installed, you need to choose your GPCI (Geographic Practice Cost Indices) location and decide whether to sort “favorites” (codes) by their caption or code.
5. STAT ICD-10 Coder
STAT ICD-10 Coder’s free version is useful for users who just want to drill down through ICD-10 categories to the highest level of code specificity they need. The interface is fairly simple, logs item history that can be edited and rearranged, so it the log can act like a quick reference checklist of ICD-10 codes that a given user works with. All the advanced features, including keyword and index searching and others, requires the paid upgrade (in-app purchase).
4. RU Prepared? ICD-10 Edition
RU Prepared? ICD-10 Edition turns learning and preparing for ICD-10 medical codes into a game where you can replay questions and try to beat a previous score. Questions are true/false or multiple choice and grouped into sections. Once you complete one section, the next section unlocks. Caveat: at time of writing, the app was updated about one week before the ICD-10 switchover date was changed from Oct 1, 2014, to a tentative Oct 1, 2015. So a few of the answers to date-related questions are incorrect. Presumably there’ll be another app update. However, the app is a good starting point to test your knowledge of ICD-10’s impact and usage protocols. Interestingly, the app has a feature to share a high score on Facebook and Twitter. While the Twitter share feature seems likely to go unused, the Facebook share feature could be used between students in various medical studies as well as professionals, as a challenge.
3. ICD-10 Doc Talk
ICD-10 Doc Talk is not a coding app per se. Rather, it’s a collection of 10-15 minute audio recordings that discuss the impact of this new medical code set on various specialties. The interface is organized into various categories, for a total of 15 (at time of writing), and the subject matter discusses documentation requirements for various conditions and diseases in ICD-10. This information can also help refine ICD-9 documentation. Intended users are physicians, clinical documentation specialists, nurses, case management works or anyone who is involved in the documenting of medical records. Note: an Internet connection is initially required, after which audio files are downloaded for later offline use.
2. ICD-10 Search
Despite the imposing “Login” button, ICD-10 Search offers a number of free features, including ICD-10-CM (Clinical Modification) search, conversion from ICD-9 to ICD-10 and vice versa, the full range of ICD-10 codes indexed and sub-indexed for drill-down navigation, favoriting of codes (bookmarking) and search history. When drilling down to a full ICD-10 code, you see the full description for the code, as well as parent categories. The app has paid options for additional ICD-10-CM data.
1. ICD-10 Doc Guide
ICD-10 Doc Guide provides an easy lookup for documentation tips (for medical records) on various condition and disease categories. Search with a keyword to get a category or drill down by alphabet index (Browse button). The search feature is “smart” in that it shows a refined list of conditions with each letter of the keyword typed. The app works without an Internet connection and is aimed at physicians, clinical documentation improvement specialists, physicians assistants, case managers, nurses, quality assurance / compliance workers or anyone who is involved in documenting medical records.