Management of patients with chronic conditions relies on accurate measurement. It is unknown how transition to the ICD-10 coding system affected reporting of chronic condition rates over time. We measured chronic condition rates 2 years before and 1 year after the transition to ICD-10 to examine changes in prevalence rates and potential measurement issues in the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system.
We developed definitions for 34 chronic conditions using ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes and compared the prevalence rates of these conditions from FY2014 to 2016 in a 20% random sample (1.0 million) of all VA patients. In each year we estimated the total number of patients diagnosed with the conditions. We regressed each condition on an indicator of ICD-10 (versus ICD-9) measurement to obtain the odds ratio associated with ICD-10.
Condition prevalence estimates were similar for most conditions before and after ICD-10 transition. We found significant changes in a few exceptions. Alzheimer’s disease and spinal cord injury had more than twice the odds of being measured with ICD-10 compared to ICD-9. HIV/AIDS had one-third the odds, and arthritis had half the odds of being measured with ICD-10. Alcohol dependence and tobacco/nicotine dependence had half the odds of being measured in ICD-10.
Many chronic condition rates were consistent from FY14–16, and there did not appear to be widespread undercoding of conditions after ICD-10 transition. It is unknown whether increased sensitivity or undercoding led to decreases in mental health conditions.