Objective: To determine the accuracy in coding for principal injury diagnosis (PDx), external cause, place of occurrence, and activity codes under the Australian Modification of the International Classification of Disease, 10th Revision (ICD-10-AM) for public hospital discharges in New Zealand.
Method: A simple random sample of 1800 injury discharges was selected from the National Minimum Dataset (NMDS) of hospital discharges from July 2001 to June 2004. Records were obtained and coded by the Senior Advisor in Clinical Coding (SACC) independently of the codes already recorded in the NMDS.
Results: Of injury discharges selected from the NMDS, 2% were not coded with a PDx of injury by the SACC. Fourteen percent of the PDxs and 26% of the external cause codes (E-codes V01–Y89) had inaccuracies in the first, second, or third characters. Variation in the accuracy of the PDxs and E-codes was obvious by diagnostic and E-code groupings; 22% of the place of occurrence codes (Y92) and 29% of the activity codes (Y93) were incorrect. Accuracy of the PDxs and E-codes was related to the clarity of the documentation in the medical records.
Conclusions: For countries that are considering implementing ICD-10 or one of its variants, these findings provide insight into possible limitations of the classification and offer guidance on where the focus of training should be placed. For countries that have historical data coded according to ICD-10-AM, these results suggest that some specific estimates of injury and external-cause incidence may need to be treated with caution.
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Competing interests: None.
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