CPT codes are updated annually, typically on Jan. 1, and describe the cognitive and procedural care provided by emergency physicians. ICD diagnosis codes are also updated annually, but rather than on a calendar-year cycle, new codes become effective on Oct. 1.
While ICD-10 diagnosis codes are important for coding and billing purposes to communicate the necessity of the care provided, the codes also fill a critical role in facilitating epidemiologic tracking. The World Health Organization has been using ICD-10 codes to track disease and injuries for years. When a novel disease such as Zika virus becomes clinically important, a key component of tracking the disease is to develop, approve, and release an ICD-10 diagnosis code that facilitates disease incidence calculations and the identification of patient-specific details.