descriptive epidemiology, epidemiology, indicators, poisoning, surveillance


Health Services Research | Public Health


Background: In October 2015, discharge data coding in the USA shifted to the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM), necessitating new indicator definitions for drug overdose morbidity. Amid the drug overdose crisis, characterising discharge records that have ICD-10-CM drug overdose codes can inform the development of standardised drug overdose morbidity indicator definitions for epidemiological surveillance.

Methods: Eight states submitted aggregated data involving hospital and emergency department (ED) discharge records with ICD-10-CM codes starting with T36-T50, for visits occurring from October 2015 to December 2016. Frequencies were calculated for (1) the position within the diagnosis billing fields where the drug overdose code occurred; (2) primary diagnosis code grouped by ICD-10-CM chapter; (3) encounter types; and (4) intents, underdosing and adverse effects.

Results: Among all records with a drug overdose code, the primary diagnosis field captured 70.6% of hospitalisations (median=69.5%, range=66.2%-76.8%) and 79.9% of ED visits (median=80.7%; range=69.8%-88.0%) on average across participating states. The most frequent primary diagnosis chapters included injury and mental disorder chapters. Among visits with codes for drug overdose initial encounters, subsequent encounters and sequelae, on average 94.6% of hospitalisation records (median=98.3%; range=68.8%-98.8%) and 95.5% of ED records (median=99.5%; range=79.2%-99.8%), represented initial encounters. Among records with drug overdose of any intent, adverse effect and underdosing codes, adverse effects comprised an average of 74.9% of hospitalisation records (median=76.3%; range=57.6%-81.1%) and 50.8% of ED records (median=48.9%; range=42.3%-66.8%), while unintentional intent comprised an average of 11.1% of hospitalisation records (median=11.0%; range=8.3%-14.5%) and 28.2% of ED records (median=25.6%; range=20.8%-40.7%).

Conclusion: Results highlight considerations for adapting and standardising drug overdose indicator definitions in ICD-10-CM.

Original Citation

Tyndall Snow LM, Hall KE, Custis C, et al. Descriptive exploration of overdose codes in hospital and emergency department discharge data to inform development of drug overdose morbidity surveillance indicator definitions in ICD-10-CM. Inj Prev. 2021;27(S1):i27-i34. doi:10.1136/injuryprev-2019-043520