Objectives: To test the validity of the adapted Diabetes Complications Severity Index (aDCSI), which does not include laboratory test results, as an indicator of diabetes severity.
Study design: Retrospective cohort study using 4 years of claims data from 7 health insurance plans.
Methods: Individuals with diabetes mellitus and continuous enrollment were study subjects (N = 138,615). The 2 independent variables--the aDCSI score (sum of 7 diabetes complications graded by severity as 0, 1, or 2; range 0-13) and the aDCSI diabetes complication count (sum of 7 diabetes complications without severity grading; range 0-7)--were generated using only claims data. We evaluated the numbers of hospitalizations attributable to the aDCSI with Poisson regression models, both categorically and linearly.
Results: The aDCSI score (risk ratio 1.39 to 6.10 categorically and 1.41 linearly) and diabetes complication count (risk ratio 1.67 to 9.11 categorically and 1.65 linearly) were both significantly positively associated with the number of hospitalizations over a 4-year period. Risk ratios from the aDCSI score were very similar to the risk ratios previously reported for the Diabetes Complications Severity Index (DCSI); the absolute difference between risk ratios ranged from 0.01 to 1.6 categorically and was 0.05 linearly.
Conclusions: The aDCSI is a good measure of diabetes severity, given its ability to explain hospitalizations and its similar performance to the DCSI.