Identifying Pediatric Community-Acquired Pneumonia Hospitalizations Accuracy of Administrative Billing Codes

Division of Hospital Medicine, The Monroe Carell Jr Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt and Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee.
JAMA pediatrics 07/2013; 167(9). DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.186
Source: PubMed


Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) remains one of the most common indications for pediatric hospitalization in the United States, and it is frequently the focus of research and quality studies. Use of administrative data is increasingly common for these purposes, although proper validation is required to ensure valid study conclusions.Objective
To validate administrative billing data for hospitalizations owing to childhood CAP.Design and Setting
Case-control study of 4 tertiary care, freestanding children’s hospitals in the United States.Participants
A total of 998 medical records of a 25% random sample of 3646 children discharged in 2010 with at least 1 International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) code representing possible pneumonia were reviewed. Discharges (matched on date of admission) without a pneumonia-related discharge code were also examined to identify potential missed pneumonia cases. Two reference standards, based on provider diagnosis alone (provider confirmed) or in combination with consistent clinical and radiographic evidence of pneumonia (definite), were used to identify CAP.Exposure
Twelve ICD-9-CM–based coding strategies, each using a combination of primary or secondary codes representing pneumonia or pneumonia-related complications. Six algorithms excluded children with complex chronic conditions.Main Outcomes and Measures
Sensitivity, specificity, and negative and positive predictive values (NPV and PPV, respectively) of the 12 identification strategies.Results
For provider-confirmed CAP (n = 680), sensitivity ranged from 60.7% to 99.7%; specificity, 75.7% to 96.4%; PPV, 67.9% to 89.6%; and NPV, 82.6% to 99.8%. For definite CAP (n = 547), sensitivity ranged from 65.6% to 99.6%; specificity, 68.7% to 93.0%; PPV, 54.6% to 77.9%; and NPV, 87.8% to 99.8%. Unrestricted use of the pneumonia-related codes was inaccurate, although several strategies improved specificity to more than 90% with a variable effect on sensitivity. Excluding children with complex chronic conditions demonstrated the most favorable performance characteristics. Performance of the algorithms was similar across institutions.Conclusions and Relevance
Administrative data are valuable for studying pediatric CAP hospitalizations. The strategies presented here will aid in the accurate identification of relevant and comparable patient populations for research and performance improvement studies.

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    ABSTRACT: Background: The 2011 Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society/Infectious Diseases Society of America community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) guideline recommends narrow-spectrum antimicrobial therapy for most children hospitalized with CAP. However, few studies have assessed the effectiveness of this strategy. Methods: Using data from 43 children's hospitals, we conducted a retrospective cohort study to compare outcomes and resource utilization among children hospitalized with CAP between 2005 and 2011 receiving either parenteral ampicillin/penicillin (narrow spectrum) or ceftriaxone/cefotaxime (broad spectrum). Children with complex chronic conditions, interhospital transfers, recent hospitalization, or the occurrence of any of the following during the first 2 calendar days of hospitalization were excluded: pleural drainage procedure, admission to intensive care, mechanical ventilation, death, or hospital discharge. Results: Overall, 13,954 children received broad-spectrum therapy (89.7%) and 1610 received narrow-spectrum therapy (10.3%). The median length of stay was 3 days (interquartile range 3-4) in the broad- and narrow-spectrum therapy groups (adjusted difference 0.12 days, 95% confidence interval [CI]: -0.02 to 0.26). One hundred fifty-six children (1.1%) receiving broad-spectrum therapy and 13 children (0.8%) receiving narrow-spectrum therapy were admitted to intensive care (adjusted odds ratio 0.85, 95% CI: 0.27 to 2.73). Readmission occurred for 321 children (2.3%) receiving broad-spectrum therapy and 39 children (2.4%) receiving narrow-spectrum therapy (adjusted odds ratio 0.85, 95% CI: 0.45 to 1.63). Median costs for the hospitalization were $3992 and $4375 (adjusted difference -$14.4, 95% CI: -177.1 to 148.3). Conclusions: Clinical outcomes and costs for children hospitalized with CAP are not different when treatment is with narrow- compared with broad-spectrum therapy.
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