Medical EducationOriginal Article

Diabetes Mellitus Coding Training for Family Practice Residents

Geraldine N. Urse, DO, MHPEd
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Accepted: January 7, 2015

Published: July 1, 2015

J Osteopath Med; 115(7): 426-431

Context: Although physicians regularly use numeric coding systems such as the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) to describe patient encounters, coding errors are common. One of the most complicated diagnoses to code is diabetes mellitus. The ICD-9-CM currently has 39 separate codes for diabetes mellitus; this number will be expanded to more than 50 with the introduction of ICD-10-CM in October 2015.

Objectives: To assess the effect of a 1-hour focused presentation on ICD-9-CM codes on diabetes mellitus coding.

Methods: A 1-hour focused lecture on the correct use of diabetes mellitus codes for patient visits was presented to family practice residents at Doctors Hospital Family Practice in Columbus, Ohio. To assess resident knowledge of the topic, a pretest and posttest were given to residents before and after the lecture, respectively. Medical records of all patients with diabetes mellitus who were cared for at the hospital 6 weeks before and 6 weeks after the lecture were reviewed and compared for the use of diabetes mellitus ICD-9 codes.

Results: Eighteen residents attended the lecture and completed the pretest and posttest. The mean (SD) percentage of correct answers was 72.8% (17.1%) for the pretest and 84.4% (14.6%) for the posttest, for an improvement of 11.6 percentage points (P≤.035). The percentage of total available codes used did not substantially change from before to after the lecture, but the use of the generic ICD-9-CM code for diabetes mellitus type II controlled (250.00) declined (58 of 176 [33%] to 102 of 393 [26%]) and the use of other codes increased, indicating a greater variety in codes used after the focused lecture.

Conclusions: After a focused lecture on diabetes mellitus coding, resident coding knowledge improved. Review of medical record data did not reveal an overall change in the number of diabetic codes used after the lecture but did reveal a greater variety in the codes used.

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