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  1. Lowe, Jeanne R. PhD, RN
  2. Raugi, Greg MD, PhD
  3. Reiber, Gayle E. PhD, MPH
  4. Whitney, JoAnne D. PhD, RN, CWCN, FAAN


PURPOSE: To enhance the learner's competence with knowledge of changes in classifications of chronic lower limb wound codes from ICD-9-CM to ICD-10-CM in patients with diabetes.


TARGET AUDIENCE: This continuing education activity is intended for physicians and nurses with an interest in skin and wound care.


OBJECTIVES: After participating in this educational activity, the participant should be better able to:


1. Identify the upcoming transition date and coding differences of ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM coding.


2. Interpret the author's study population, methods, and design.


3. Summarize the author's study findings comparing ICD-9-CM coding to ICD-10-CM coding.




OBJECTIVE: To determine the sensitivity and specificity of International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Edition, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) and ICD-10-CM codes for individuals with diabetes and foot ulcers.


DESIGN AND METHODS: Wound care providers and researchers are concerned about the potential impacts when the United States transitions from ICD-9-CM to ICD-10-CM. To identify the impact on diabetic foot ulcers, health history and wound variables were prospectively assessed with criterion-standard data from a prospective study of 49 patients with 65 foot ulcer episodes representing 81 incident foot ulcers. The ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM code sets were mapped to correctly classify individuals with diabetes and foot ulcers.


RESULTS: Frequencies for health history variables were similar in both systems. The ICD-9 code did not capture any data on laterality (left or right) or ulcer depth/severity. The ICD-9 captured 69 of 81 incident ulcers (85%) and 94% of heel and midfoot ulcers, whereas the ICD-10 code captured 78 of 81 incident ulcers (96%) and all incident heel or midfoot ulcers. Sensitivity and specificity for ulcer characteristics were consistently lower in ICD-9 than in ICD-10.


CONCLUSIONS: The ICD-9 and ICD-10 are similar for data capture on health history variables, but wound variables are captured more accurately using ICD-10. The increased specificity of ICD-10 for ulcer location and severity improves identification and tracking ulcers during an episode of care.