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Monthly Archives: April 2015

Algorithm for Identifying Patients with Multiple Chronic Conditions

By Elizabeth Magnan

To support research on patients with multiple chronic conditions, researchers and clinicians (Principal Investigator: Elizabeth Magnan, MD, PhD) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine & Public Health and the University of California-Davis have created indicator variables for the presence or absence of 69 chronic conditions that are available in a toolkit for free download at www.HIPxChange.org/Comorbidities. These variables can be used to identify patient chronic conditions in health care and billing records.
To create this comprehensive set of variables, we combined 358 clinical categories from the Agency for Health Care Quality and Research (AHRQ) Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project’s (HCUP) Clinical Classification Software (CCS) that cover 4,427 ICD-9 codes, identified as chronic conditions by HCUP’s Chronic Condition Indicator, into 69 clinically-relevant condition categories, including modifications from a previous set of conditions to incorporate recent CCS updates and further highlight metabolic and cardiovascular conditions.
The toolkit is intended for researchers interested in examining the effect of multiple chronic conditions or specific comorbidities on health and outcomes, or for those who are interested in quality improvement or public reporting on patients with comorbid conditions. Results could be utilized to inform policy development, provision of care, and allocation of resources.
The toolkit contains an Excel file that you can download and then import into your statistical program. It contains ICD-9 diagnostic codes mapped to AHRQ Clinical Classification Software (CCS) codes that have been identified as chronic conditions per the AHRQ chronic condition indicator. The CCS codes are then bundled into 69 clinically relevant chronic condition categories.
The chronic conditions diagnostic codes can be assessed in any patient timeframe desired. Past work has identified multiple chronic conditions during the baseline year and during both baseline and reporting years.