Preparing for the ICD-10-CM Transition: Automated Methods for Translating ICD Codes in Clinical Phenotype Definitions

EGEMS (Wash DC). 2016 Apr 12;4(1):1211. doi: 10.13063/2327-9214.1211. eCollection 2016.


Background: The national mandate for health systems to transition from ICD-9-CM to ICD-10-CM in October 2015 has an impact on research activities. Clinical phenotypes defined by ICD-9-CM codes need to be converted to ICD-10-CM, which has nearly four times more codes and a very different structure than ICD-9-CM.

Methods: We used the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) General Equivalent Maps (GEMs) to translate, using four different methods, condition-specific ICD-9-CM code sets used for pragmatic trials (n=32) into ICD-10-CM. We calculated the recall, precision, and F score of each method. We also used the ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM value sets defined for electronic quality measure as an additional evaluation of the mapping methods.

Results: The forward-backward mapping (FBM) method had higher precision, recall and F-score metrics than simple forward mapping (SFM). The more aggressive secondary (SM) and tertiary mapping (TM) methods resulted in higher recall but lower precision. For clinical phenotype definition, FBM was the best (F=0.67), but was close to SM (F=0.62) and TM (F=0.60), judging on the F-scores alone. The overall difference between the four methods was statistically significant (one-way ANOVA, F=5.749, p=0.001). However, pairwise comparisons between FBM, SM, and TM did not reach statistical significance. A similar trend was found for the quality measure value sets.

Discussion: The optimal method for using the GEMs depends on the relative importance of recall versus precision for a given use case. It appears that for clinically distinct and homogenous conditions, the recall of FBM is sufficient. The performance of all mapping methods was lower for heterogeneous conditions. Since code sets used for phenotype definition and quality measurement can be very similar, there is a possibility of cross-fertilization between the two activities.

Conclusion: Different mapping approaches yield different collections of ICD-10-CM codes. All methods require some level of human validation.

Keywords: Cohort Identification; Electronic Health Record (EHR); Health Information Technology; Standardized Data Collection.