Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Accuracy of external cause-of-injury coding in VA polytrauma patient discharge records

Kathleen F. Carlson, MS, PhD, et al.

Understanding causes of injury among veterans is important for development of injury prevention and rehabilitation services. External cause-of-injury codes (E-codes) provide this information and are available in Veterans Health Administration (VHA) administrative data. Using medical records for comparison, we studied the accuracy of E-coding in discharge data for 566 VHA polytrauma inpatients. Of the injured patients, 74 percent had been assigned E-codes. E-coding accuracy varied by VHA site and was better for combat-related injuries (81% E-coded) than for other injuries. E-coding accuracy should be improved before E-codes are used as a single source of data on causes of veterans' injuries.

Volume 47 Number 8, 2010
   Pages 689 — 698


This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Carlson KF, Nugent SM, Grill J, Sayer NA. Accuracy of external cause-of-injury coding in VA polytrauma patient discharge records. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2010;47(8):689-98.
DOI: 10.1682/JRRD.2009.08.0118
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Last Reviewed or Updated  Wednesday, October 27, 2010 9:59 AM