6 urgent care coding trends

DocuTAP, a health IT company, examined urgent care coding trends in its quarterly report published Feb. 6.

For the report, researchers with the company analyzed 2013-17 coding trends using data collected by DocuTAP's urgent care customers.

Here are six findings.


1. In 2016 and 2017, more than half of urgent care diagnoses (55 percent) were attributable to one of three ICD-10 chapters: JOO-J99 ("diseases of the respiratory system"), ROO-R99 ("symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified") and SOO-T88 ("injury, poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes").

2. Analysis revealed 22 percent of injuries due to external causes affected the wrist and hand during 2016 and 2017, which was more than head (11 percent), knee and lower leg (11 percent) and ankle and foot (16 percent).

3. More than half of all urgent care diagnoses during 2016 and 2017 were related to the following conditions:

  • Acute pharyngitis
  • Acute sinusitis
  • Acute upper respiratory infections of multiple and unspecified sites
  • Cough
  • Acute bronchitis
  • Suppurative and unspecified otitis media
  • Examination and encounter for administrative purposes
  • Dorsalgia
  • Other disorders of urinary system
  • Other joint disorders, not elsewhere classified
  • Fever of other and unknown origin
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Cellulitis
  • Essential (primary) hypertension
  • Abdominal and pelvic pain
  • General examination and investigation of persons w/o complaint and reported diagnosis
  • Other soft tissue disorders, not elsewhere classified
  • Vasomotor and allergic rhinitis
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Influenza, virus not identified

Evaluation and management coding

4. The report's authors identified an 11 percent decrease in the number of new visits coded at E/M level three from 2013-17. The number of new visits coded at E/M level four increased 15 percent during that same time period.

Current procedural terminology codes

5. According to DocuTAP, 12 percent of urgent care visits during 2015, 2016 and 2017 included an injection.

6. The number of visits including a rapid strep test increased from 10 percent in 2015 to 12 percent in 2017.

Read more about the findings here.


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