Assessing diagnostic coding practices among a sample of healthcare facilities in Lyme disease endemic areas: Maryland and New York - a brief report.
The value of using diagnostic codes in Lyme disease (LD) surveillance in highly endemic states has not been well studied. Surveys of healthcare facilities in Maryland (MD) and New York (NY) regarding coding practices were conducted to evaluate the feasibility of using diagnostic codes as a potential method for LD surveillance. Most respondents indicated that their practice utilized electronic medical records (53%) and processed medical/billing claims electronically (74%). Most facilities were able to search office visits associated with specific ICD-9-CM and CPT codes (74% and 73%, respectively); no discernible differences existed between the healthcare facilities in both states. These codes were most commonly assigned by the practitioner (82%), and approximately 70% of respondents indicated that these codes were later validated by administrative staff. These results provide evidence for the possibility of using diagnostic codes in LD surveillance. However, the utility of these codes as an alternative to traditional LD surveillance requires further evaluation.