Can billing codes accurately identify rapidly progressing stage 3 and stage 4 chronic kidney disease patients: a diagnostic test study.

A new interesting article has been published in BMC Nephrol. 2019 Jul 12;20(1):260. doi: 10.1186/s12882-019-1429-4. and titled:

Can billing codes accurately identify rapidly progressing stage 3 and stage 4 chronic kidney disease patients: a diagnostic test study.

Authors of this article are:

Jalal K, Anand EJ, Venuto R, Eberle J, Arora P.

A summary of the article is shown below:

BACKGROUND: The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) coding system is the industry standard tool for billing, disease classification, and epidemiology purposes. However, ICD codes are often not assigned or incorrectly given, particularly among Chronic Kidney disease (CKD) patients. Our study evaluated the diagnostic accuracy of CKD-staging ICD codes among CKD patients from a large insurer database in identifying individuals rapidly progressing towards end-stage renal disease (ESRD).PATIENTS AND METHODS: Serial observations including outpatient serum creatinine measurements collected from 2007 through 2014 of 216,529 patients were examined. The progression of CKD using a serum creatinine based longitudinal mixed-model was contrasted with that documented by CKD-staging ICD codes. Rapid progressors, defined as those with yearly estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) loss greater than 4 ml/min/1.73m2) were identified. The diagnosis of CKD using eGFR was also compared to diagnosis using a set of CKD related ICD codes.RESULTS: Of 10,927 clinically identified CKD patients qualifying for inclusion in the progression analysis, 323 were clinically identified as rapid progressors. CKD-staging ICD codes identified 83 of these, for a sensitivity of 25.7% with positive predictive value (PPV) of 13.74%, and specificity 95.09% with negative predictive value (NPV) of 97.68%. Of 28,762 laboratory-confirmed CKD patients, 9249 had a qualifying ICD code, for a sensitivity of 16% with PPV of 63.10%; Of 187,767 patients with laboratory-confirmed absence of CKD, 182,359 also did not have a qualifying ICD code, for a specificity of 97.12% with NPV of 90.33%.CONCLUSION: This study depicts the novel finding that ICD-codes display poor capacity to identify rapidly progressing CKD patients when compared to gold standard eGFR measures, and further demonstrates the limitations of coding in CKD diagnosis. This analysis further defines the limitations of ICD codes in addressing diagnosis of disease severity or disease progression for clinical or epidemiological purposes.

Check out the article’s website on Pubmed for more information:



This article is a good source of information and a good way to become familiar with topics such as: CKD;ICD;Progression;Sensitivity;Specificity.

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