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Drawing Detailed Codes: Q&A with the Creator of ICD-10 Illustrated

November 5, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
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Being situated in one of America's health IT hubs and having worked for one of the largest health IT companies in the world means spending a lot of time thinking about health IT.
That is the case for Nikolai Skievaski, who is based out of Madison, Wisc. For more than three years, Skievaski worked for Epic Systems, the large electronic health record (EHR) developer based in the Badger State's capital city. He worked with company executives to look for innovations. 
Within Epic, he started a searchable knowledge base platform that allows people to better understand how the software works. Eventually that idea became the basis for Breadcrumbs, an offshoot company that he left Epic to start in 2010. Since leaving Epic, the entrepreneurially-minded Skievaski has managed Breadcrumbs while starting both health IT-related and non-health IT companies.

One of his entrepreneurial successes has caught the attention of government officials, health IT observers, and mainstream      media outlets like The New York Times. It's a collection of art that depicts instances of ICD-10. As most know, the 60,000-plus ICD-10 codes are famously detailed and Skievaski's book, Struck by Orca: ICD-10 Illustrated, is a humorous take on the code descriptions. He has brought in healthcare and non-healthcare contributors for various illustrations within the book. The book has become such a hit (nearly 10,000 copies sold) that he has expanded the idea to Stage 2 of meaningful use. 

Healthcare Informatics Senior Editor, Gabriel Perna, recently had a chance to discuss the book with Skievaski. Below are excerpts from that interview. 

Nikolai Skievaski