Trends in ICD-10-CM-Coded Administrative Datasets for Injury Surveillance and Research

Julia F. Costich, Dana B. Quesinberry, Lara K. Daniels, Ashley Bush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives Accurate injury surveillance depends on data quality in administrative datasets created for billing and reimbursement. Significant effort has been devoted to testing the ability of candidate injury case definitions to identify injury cases accurately in these datasets. We used interviews with experienced coders, informed by a review of the current literature, to identify three clinical coding trends that may affect the consistency of surveillance data: "clinical documentation improvement or clinical documentation integrity"(CDI), coding by treating clinicians, and certain electronic health record features. Methods An extensive literature review informed interviews with coding experts to identify potential issues in coding practice. To determine whether physician coding was associated with information loss, we analyzed data from two hospitals serving the same geographic area. One hospital had used physician coding of emergency department data for the past decade; the other used professional coders. We compared the proportion of emergency department records missing external cause of injury codes and assessed the variation for statistical significance. Results CDI audits review patient records to ensure that billing information includes every relevant International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification code. This approach has increased payment rates awarded to Medicare Advantage plans because additional codes increase the patient acuity level and case mix index. The impact of CDI audits on injury data needs further investigation. The pilot analysis addressing information loss with physician coding found a higher level of external cause coding with clinician self-coding, possibly because of the coding software. Finally, widespread "copy and paste"in patient electronic health records has the potential to increase reported injuries. Conclusions Injury surveillance relies on billing and reimbursement records. Financial motivations may interfere with the consistency of surveillance findings and mislead injury epidemiologists. Further investigation is essential to ensure the integrity of surveillance findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-805
Number of pages5
JournalSouthern Medical Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by award number 5NU17CE924846-05 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under the Surveillance Quality Improvement initiative. All of the findings are those of the authors and do not reflect the influence or positions of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Publisher Copyright:
© Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


  • administrative data
  • data quality
  • ICD-10-CM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Trends in ICD-10-CM-Coded Administrative Datasets for Injury Surveillance and Research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this