An evaluation of external cause-of-injury codes using hospital records from the Indian Health Service, 1985

Am J Public Health. 1990 Mar;80(3):279-81. doi: 10.2105/ajph.80.3.279.


To evaluate the usefulness of International Classification of Diseases external cause-of-injury and poisoning codes (E codes) for public health surveillance of nonfatal injuries, we analyzed E codes from Indian Health Service (IHS) hospital records. E codes for unknown or unspecified causes were used for 25 percent of records. At two hospitals, 63 percent of E codes assigned by independent coders agreed; another 18 percent matched on general cause-of-injury groups. With uniform guidelines and increased training, E coding could provide a valuable, cost-effective method of quantifying and characterizing severe, nonfatal injuries.

MeSH terms

  • Health Services Administration
  • Hospital Records*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Indians, North American
  • Inuits
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / classification
  • Wounds and Injuries / ethnology
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology*