Principal diagnosis serves an important function in determining which diagnosis-related group (DRG) code to assign a patient. DRGs and other diagnostic codes, like ICD-10, are not only used to electronically record a patient’s treatment history, but they also play a crucial role in healthcare billing.
Healthcare providers will use these codes to determine the complexity of patient treatment. This includes the symptoms they initially presented and the medications, treatments, procedures, and other hospital resources that they received. This information helps care providers know how to bill an insurer for a given episode of care.