Brief Methodological Reports
Use of International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification, Codes to Identify Inpatient Fall-Related Injuries
To compare falls and fall-related injuries that a fall evaluator or hospital incident report identified with injuries identified according to discharge International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) codes for the same set of inpatient episodes of care.
Prospective, descriptive study.
Sixteen adult general medical and surgical units in a major urban teaching hospital.
All adults who sustained a fall with injury during a 5-year period (380 falls with injury).
Falls that a fall evaluator or hospital incident report identified were classified according to their injury severity. Discharge abstracts provided diagnosis codes (ICD-9-CM) for the discharge, including fall-related injury codes.
Three hundred forty-three inpatient falls with injury (90.2%) resulted in temporary harm to the individual; the remaining 37 falls (9.8%) resulted in more-serious harm. Sixteen of the 37 falls with injury extending hospitalization or resulting in death were identified using Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)-targeted injury code ranges combined with present-on-admission indicators. Of the 21 falls with injury that were not identified, nine (42.9%) lacked documentation of any injury, and seven (33.3%) identified other injuries outside the CMS-targeted injury code ranges.
The CMS-targeted ICD-9-CM codes used to identify fall-related injuries in claims data do not always detect the most-serious falls.