Evaluating the coding accuracy of type 2 diabetes mellitus among patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Abstract Background Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) describes a spectrum of chronic fattening of liver that can lead to fibrosis and cirrhosis. Diabetes has been identified as a major comorbidity that contributes to NAFLD progression. Health systems around the world make use of administrative data to conduct population-based prevalence studies. To that end, we sought to assess the accuracy of diabetes International Classification of Diseases (ICD) coding in administrative databases among a cohort of confirmed NAFLD patients in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Methods The Calgary NAFLD Pathway Database was linked to the following databases: Physician Claims, Discharge Abstract Database, National Ambulatory Care Reporting System, Pharmaceutical Information Network database, Laboratory, and Electronic Medical Records. Hemoglobin A1c and diabetes medication details were used to classify diabetes groups into absent, prediabetes, meeting glycemic targets, and not meeting glycemic targets. The performance of ICD codes among these groups was compared to this standard. Within each group, the total numbers of true positives, false positives, false negatives, and true negatives were calculated. Descriptive statistics and bivariate analysis were conducted on identified covariates, including demographics and types of interacted physicians. Results A total of 12,012 NAFLD patients were registered through the Calgary NAFLD Pathway Database and 100% were successfully linked to the administrative databases. Overall, diabetes coding showed a sensitivity of 0.81 and a positive predictive value of 0.87. False negative rates in the absent and not meeting glycemic control groups were 4.5% and 6.4%, respectively, whereas the meeting glycemic control group had a 42.2% coding error. Visits to primary and outpatient services were associated with most encounters. Conclusion Diabetes ICD coding in administrative databases can accurately detect true diabetic cases. However, patients with diabetes who meets glycemic control targets are less likely to be coded in administrative databases. A detailed understanding of the clinical context will require additional data linkage from primary care settings.
BMC Health Services Research. 2024 Feb 16;24(1):218