Improving the accuracy of ICD-10 coding of morbidity/mortality data through the introduction of an electronic diagnostic terminology tool at the general hospitals in Lagos, Nigeria

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BMJ Open Qual. 2021 Mar;10(1):e000938. doi: 10.1136/bmjoq-2020-000938.


BACKGROUND: Reliable information which can only be derived from accurate data is crucial to the success of the health system. Since encoded data on diagnoses and procedures are put to a broad range of uses, the accuracy of coding is imperative. Accuracy of coding with the International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision (ICD-10) is impeded by a manual coding process that is dependent on the medical records officers’ level of experience/knowledge of medical terminologies.

AIM STATEMENT: To improve the accuracy of ICD-10 coding of morbidity/mortality data at the general hospitals in Lagos State from 78.7% to ≥95% between March 2018 and September 2018.

METHODS: A quality improvement (QI) design using the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle framework. The interventions comprised the introduction of an electronic diagnostic terminology software and training of 52 clinical coders from the 26 general hospitals. An end-of-training coding exercise compared the coding accuracy between the old method and the intervention. The outcome was continuously monitored and evaluated in a phased approach.

RESULTS: Research conducted in the study setting yielded a baseline coding accuracy of 78.7%. The use of the difficult items (wrongly coded items) from the research for the end-of-training coding exercise accounted for a lower coding accuracy when compared with baseline. The difference in coding accuracy between manual coders (47.8%) and browser-assisted coders (54.9%) from the coding exercise was statistically significant. Overall average percentage coding accuracy at the hospitals over the 12-month monitoring and evaluation period was 91.3%.

CONCLUSION: This QI initiative introduced a stop-gap for improving data coding accuracy in the absence of automated coding and electronic health record. It provides evidence that the electronic diagnostic terminology tool does improve coding accuracy and with continuous use/practice should improve reliability and coding efficiency in resource-constrained settings.

PMID:33674344 | DOI:10.1136/bmjoq-2020-000938

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