Health Information Management

Wound care goes beyond pressure ulcers

HIM-HIPAA Insider, November 25, 2013

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All pressure ulcers are wounds, but not all wounds are pressure ulcers. A wound is an injury to living tissue caused by a cut, blow, or other external or internal factor. Wounds usually break or cut the skin. Inpatient coders may be very familiar with pressure ulcers and their stages, but they also need to understand other types of wounds. "People are sometimes so focused on one area that they forget wounds consist of a lot of different types," says Robert S. Gold, MD, CEO of DCBA, Inc., in Atlanta.

To a physician, a wound can be any of the following:

  • Surgical incisions, whether closed and intact, purposely left open, dehisced, or infected
  • Lacerations and abrasions, such as road burns or any traumatic damage to the skin, including open fractures
  • First- to third-degree burns, regardless of the cause
  • Draining infections, such as osteomyelitis, pilonidal abscess, perianal abscess, cellulitis with ulceration, and even infected insect bites
  • Open areas of skin necrosis from any cause, including open gangrene, venous ulcers, pressure ulcers, diabetic vascular ulcers, and neuropathic ulcers

Editor’s note: Continue reading "Wound care goes beyond pressure ulcers" on the HCPro website. Subscribers to Briefings on Coding Compliance Strategies have free access to this article in the November issue.

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