This study describes a simulation of diagnostic coding using an EHR. Twenty-three ambulatory clinicians were asked to enter appropriate codes for six standardized scenarios with two different EHRs. Their interactions with the query interface were analyzed for patterns and variations in search strategies and the resulting sets of entered codes for accuracy and completeness. Just over a half of entered codes were appropriate for a given scenario and about a quarter were omitted. Crohn’s disease and diabetes scenarios had the highest rate of inappropriate coding and code variation. The omission rate was higher for secondary than for primary visit diagnoses. Codes for immunization, dialysis dependence and nicotine dependence were the most often omitted. We also found a high rate of variation in the search terms used to query the EHR for the same diagnoses. Changes to the training of clinicians and improved design of EHR query modules may lower the rate of inappropriate and omitted codes.

Learning Objective 1: Attendees will learn wht are the faciliators and barriers to accurate and complete diagnostic coding with ICD-10.


Jan Horsky (Presenter)
Brigham & Women's Hospital

Elizabeth Drucker, Newton-Wellesley Hospital
Harley Ramelson, Partners Healthcare

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