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Posted on 12.05.2013

“Struck by Orca” A Humorous Look at ICD-10 and the Importance of Unique Healthcare Communications

Looking to buy a last minute gift for that hard-to-please medical coder, or just want to bring a little holiday humor to the hospital or clinic billing office? Well, look no further. “Struck by Orca,” a book of 32 color and black and white images illustrating some of the most unusual new ICD-10 codes, just launched its first print run.

Highlighted recently in Modern Healthcare’s business blog, the idea emerged after a group of friends began amusing themselves by looking up odd codes like W56.22xA, “struck by orca, initial encounter,” and V91.07xD, “burn due to water-skis on fire, subsequent encounter.”

While the concept may sound funny or dismissive to those in the industry given the amount of time and stress spent preparing for ICD-10 implementation Oct. 1, 2014, the release of “Struck by Orca” illustrates a very important point that is often overlooked in healthcare these days – finding creative ways to communicate changes that are, well, not so fun.As professional communicators, we are often assigned the task of developing tools to deliver a message to diverse groups of stakeholders that can break through the noise. Often, that message may be complicated and we may fall back to tried and true tactics, like newsletters and brochures. The ICD-10 implementation, which increases the number of medical diagnoses codes from more than 14,000 to more than 68,000, is daunting, and a tool like “Struck by Orca” can bring some much-needed lightness among the sea of newsletters, brochures, emails, intranet posts, break room flyers and small-group huddles.

A book of humorous illustrations is not the end-all-be-all answer to internal communications, but it is a good awakening to the possibilities that exist when we think creatively. Oh, and the publishers are thinking about producing a countdown calendar for next year. Be on the lookout!

Looking for creative ways to communicate not-so-fun topics? Learn the 6 Secrets of Effective Hospital Internal Communication or share your thoughts and best practices in the comments.


Amanda Anderson is a senior account supervisor at Lovell Communications. You can view more of Amanda’s blogs here. Connect with Amanda at amanda@lovell.com or @AmanderTN.

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