There is a saying, “Laughter is the best medicine,” and, believe it or not, it is a vital quality not just in life, but also in healthcare. As a healthcare professional, you are trained to remain calm under extreme pressure and perform operations flawlessly. You push yourself to the highest standards of responsibility for your patients, and sometimes, you need to rely on humor as a coping mechanism. After all, you are not just a healthcare professional—you are also a human being. A human being who, apart from talking with colleagues, friends, and family, can deal with difficulties within your field by relying on a good laugh.
For centuries now, humor has been used in healthcare as a way to alleviate stress. In fact, as a means of communication between a doctor and their patients, humor is highly recommended. First off, consider defining humor and what it does to the body. Humor is a “mood or state of mind” that makes you feel happy and joyful. When you laugh, it helps your body in all aspects—psychological, physiological, and social. It improves immunity, relaxes your muscles, lowers stress hormones, enhances mood, eases anxiety, strengthens relationships, and more. Needless to say, humor is a therapeutic element in communicating empathy by doctors and alleviating the stress associated with medical treatment by patients.
The ICD-10 code set brings about thousands and thousands of new codes for medical practices on a national scale. It allows the code definitions to target specific diagnosis and treatment, all the while improving reporting and tracking. Under ICD-10, each code specifies the type of injury sustained, pattern, the location of the injury, the degree of severity, laterality, and the treatment performed. In the United States, there are two types of ICD-10 codes: ICD-10 CM, which stands for clinical modification, and ICD-10 PCS, which stands for procedure code system.
Each code has its own structure that makes it easier for healthcare professionals like you to understand them. The first three characters classify the disease, the fourth character recognizes the etiology of the disease, the fifth character portrays which area of the body is affected, the sixth character illustrates the severity of the disease, and the seventh character is an extension of the code which indicates the exact encounter (to further help specifically identify the medical issue). For instance, placing an “A” at the end of the code represents the initial encounter; placing a “D” at the end of the code indicates the patient has returned for a follow-up visit (subsequent encounter), while placing an “S” recognizes if the patient comes back with complications relating to the original problem (sequel). Thus, each code is built by using pieces and placing them in the right spots.
There are over 60,000 codes available, and among them, some of these codes are proponents of laughter. These crazy and funny ICD codes stand for absurd medical injuries that to most individuals may seem bizarre, but in your line of work, they might be frequent, even daily, encounters. Below are a number of examples of such codes, should these cases enter your practice:
- W55. 21 – bitten by a cow
- W55.41XA – bitten by a pig, initial encounter
- W56.11 – bitten by a sea lion
- W58.11 – bitten by a crocodile
- W56.21XA – bitten by an Orca whale, initial encounter
- W61.62XD – struck by a duck, subsequent encounter
- W61.02 – struck by a parrot
- W56.52XA – struck by other fish, initial encounter
- W59.22XA – struck by a turtle, initial encounter
- W61.12A – struck by a macaw, initial encounter
- W61.43A – pecked by a turkey, initial encounter
- W61.33A – pecked by a chicken, initial encounter
- W56.09XA – contact with a dolphin, initial encounter
- W56.49XD – other contact with a shark, subsequent encounter
- W55.29XD – other contact with a cow, subsequent encounter
- S30.867A – insect bite (nonvenomous) of the anus, initial encounter
- W220.2XD – walked into a lamppost, subsequent encounter
- W22.01XA – walked into a wall, initial encounter
- W51.XXXA – accidentally bumped into by another individual, sequel
- W52.XXXA – crushed, pushed, or stepped on by crowd or human stampede, initial encounter
- V80.731A – occupant of animal-drawn vehicle injured in collision with streetcar, initial encounter
- V91.35 – struck by falling object due to canoe accident
- V97.33XD – sucked into a jet engine, subsequent encounter
- T63.442S – toxic effect of venom of bees, intentional self-harm, sequela
- S10.87XA – other superficial bite of other specified part of the neck, initial encounter
- Y92.253 – injured at the opera
- Y92.250 – injured at an art gallery
- Y93.84 – injured while sleeping
- Y92.241 – hurt at the library
- R15.2 – fecal urgency
- Z37.54 – sextuplets, all live born
- Y93.D1 – stabbed while crocheting
- V80.710A – animal rider injured in collision with other animal being ridden
- V80.730A – animal rider injured in collision with trolley
- Z63.1 – problems in relationship with in-laws
- Z62.891 – sibling rivalry
- V00.01XD – pedestrian on foot injured in collision with roller-skater, subsequent encounter
- E928.0 – prolonged stay in a weightless environment
- W16.221 – fall into a bucket of water, causing drowning and submersion
- T50.5X6A – under dosing of appetite depressants, initial encounter
- E005.1 – injury from activities involving yoga
- Y93.J4 – injury from activities involving wind and brass instrument playing
- Y93.E4 – injury from activity involving ironing
- Y93.E2 – injury from activity involving laundry
- Y93.D – injury from activities involving arts and handicrafts
- V91.07XA – burn due to water-skis on fire, subsequent encounter
- T71.231D – asphyxiation due to being trapped in a discarded refrigerator, accidental
- V91.15AX – crushed between canoe or kayak and other watercraft or other object due to collision, initial encounter
- R46.1 – bizarre personal appearance
- T63.012A – toxic effect of rattlesnake venom/intentional self-harm
- G44.89 – other headache syndrome
- F51.4 – night terrors
- R46.0 – very low level of personal hygiene
- S81.821A – laceration with foreign body, right lower leg
- V93.30X – fall on board merchant ship
- W49.01XA – hair causing external constriction, initial encounter
- V98.2XXA – accident to, on, or involving ice yacht
- T75.01XD – shock due to being struck by lightning, subsequent encounter
- Y92.320 – baseball field as the place of occurrence of the external cause
- Y92.146 – swimming pool of prison as the place of occurrence of the external cause
- Y92.011 – dining room of single-family (private) house as the place of occurrence of the external cause
- Y92.26 – cinema as the place of occurrence of the external cause
- Y92.834 – zoo as the place of occurrence of the external cause
- Y92.241 – library as the place of occurrence of the external cause
- V95.43XS – spacecraft collision injuring occupant, sequela
- V95.40XA – unspecified spacecraft accident
- W62.0XXA – contact with nonvenomous frogs
- V96.00XS – unspecified balloon accident injuring occupant, sequela
- V94.810 – civilian watercraft involved in water transport accident with military watercraft
- FI0.92 – alcohol use, unspecified with intoxication
- Z62.1 – parental overprotection
- Z62.6 – inappropriate parental pressure
- T28.0XXA – burn of mouth pharynx, initial encounter
- A20.0 – bubonic plague
- Z73.1 – type A behavior pattern
- W58.03 – crushed by an alligator
http://icdlist.com – this link will direct you to a website where you can view and search for the different ICD-10 codes available. By applying these codes to your specialty, they will greatly reflect on your outcomes, whether you work in a large hospital or own a small medical practice.
All in all, preparation is crucial in any work environment, and with ICD-10, it is no different. It is about documentation—the amount of information on a patient does not change, but how it is recorded does. As a healthcare professional, you have a responsibility to review the new codes and conduct a better workflow for the conversion within your practice. You also have a responsibility to teach your staff to review these codes and implement them in required areas. The benefits of learning to review and document ICD-10 codes will not only improve research abilities and the quality of care you provide, but they will also ensure devotion of staff time, increase reimbursement, and generate a healthier population. Researchers have even stated the ICD-10 code set will improve evaluation of new treatments and procedures now and in the years to come.
The above codes were invented to allow proper identification of medical issues. While they were not invented to be mocked, they do tend to lighten the mood when you come across them. Even as a healthcare professional, it is definitely okay to make fun of crazy and funny ICD codes every now and then. It is simply about finding humor in their strangeness. However, being on the outside of the medical world, some individuals may not be able to fully grasp the severity of these codes. Some may also view humor as unprofessional and trivial in healthcare settings. This is completely understandable, as changing and saving lives requires resilience. Yet, sometimes the best way to get your message across is through humor. If not medically, it will make you feel as if you have done something perhaps emotionally to help another individual.
Despite the difficulties you encounter at work, it is imperative to allow yourself some time to digest what is happening around you. Simply having coffee and joking around with another colleague or friend makes you aware of how to manage stress at work and avoid burnout. Light-heartedness can even create stronger bonds among colleagues and thus lead to a more content and professional approach.
In light of the doctor-patient relationship, humor is a good way to reach out and bond with one another. When talking about a disease or diagnosis, it can be overwhelming for anyone, even doctors. The ability to laugh allows you to detach from the world of medicine and bond with the patient in a lighter atmosphere. Humor breaks down the intensity of the situation, especially when it comes to dealing with stressful health-related topics. For instance, you may choose to joke about numerous topics, but joking on your own behalf can have the biggest impact. If you joke about yourself, it lowers your superiority level and reminds your patients that you, too, are only human.
One crucial element involving humor is timing; as they say, timing is everything. Sometimes, emotions are raw and fragile. You cannot be sure of what a patient is feeling, and for this reason, humor is most effective when the patient is ready to open up and reach out using humor. In certain instances involving children, laughter can be extremely therapeutic. Playing with problems may come naturally to them. Laughter allows them to increase their curiously and relieve their uneasiness. Humor helps anyone, especially children, overcome fear and anxiety when it comes to visiting a doctor. It gives them a sense of control and opportunities for creative learning in playful ways. That being said, the ability to laugh and play puts into perspective new ways to discuss many sensitive healthcare topics. Furthermore, reminding your patients to reach out to friends and family members is important, because they are the support group that will smile, laugh, and provide comfort in times of need. Having positive support opens up an opportunity to relax patients and make them feel comfortable in their surroundings.
Building an environment that welcomes humor minimizes the emotional and physiological aspects of dealing with stressful situations. The environment allows relationships to be seen on a balanced level, cutting down barriers and strengthening communication between doctors and patients, even team members. Introducing humor is intended to improve a patient’s mood and boost their immune system and well-being, regardless of what their situation may be. It is a way to enjoy the moment, appreciate the little things, and not dwell on the difficulties. Moreover, it is about a face-to-face connection that can brighten up your patient’s day and attempt to normalize a rather traumatic situation with a warm smile.
Through much research, it has been concluded that humor plays an essential role in healthcare—by promoting team relationships, strengthening bonds, and creating a healthy work environment. It can help you cope with difficult situations or stressful days when all you want to do is be alone and cry; it can reduce tension when things do not go as well as you had hoped; it can help you express your frustration when you feel the pressure kicking in; finally, it can allow you to connect with other colleagues and provide one another with mutual support. If you took the weight of the world on your shoulders, you would not be able to help your patients as you do now. At the end of a long, exhausting work day, it is not about escaping from patients. It is simply about finding some time to escape from your own mentality, from the idea of disease, pain, and sorrow. Humor is about opening doors. It is about learning how to deal with stressful situations and finding a positive light that will continue to shine on throughout your days, even if it is just a flicker.