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      Validation of an administrative claims-based diagnostic code for pneumonia in a US-based commercially insured COPD population

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          To estimate the accuracy of claims-based pneumonia diagnoses in COPD patients using clinical information in medical records as the reference standard.


          Selecting from a repository containing members’ data from 14 regional United States health plans, this validation study identified pneumonia diagnoses within a group of patients initiating treatment for COPD between March 1, 2009 and March 31, 2012. Patients with ≥1 claim for pneumonia (International Classification of Diseases Version 9-CM code 480.xx–486.xx) were identified during the 12 months following treatment initiation. A subset of 800 patients was randomly selected to abstract medical record data (paper based and electronic) for a target sample of 400 patients, to estimate validity within 5% margin of error. Positive predictive value (PPV) was calculated for the claims diagnosis of pneumonia relative to the reference standard, defined as a documented diagnosis in the medical record.


          A total of 388 records were reviewed; 311 included a documented pneumonia diagnosis, indicating 80.2% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 75.8% to 84.0%) of claims-identified pneumonia diagnoses were validated by the medical charts. Claims-based diagnoses in inpatient or emergency departments (n=185) had greater PPV versus outpatient settings (n=203), 87.6% (95% CI: 81.9%–92.0%) versus 73.4% (95% CI: 66.8%–79.3%), respectively. Claims-diagnoses verified with paper-based charts had similar PPV as the overall study sample, 80.2% (95% CI: 71.1%–87.5%), and higher PPV than those linked to electronic medical records, 73.3% (95% CI: 65.5%–80.2%). Combined paper-based and electronic records had a higher PPV, 87.6% (95% CI: 80.9%–92.6%).


          Administrative claims data indicating a diagnosis of pneumonia in COPD patients are supported by medical records. The accuracy of a medical record diagnosis of pneumonia remains unknown. With increased use of claims data in medical research, COPD researchers can study pneumonia with confidence that claims data are a valid tool when studying the safety of COPD therapies that could potentially lead to increased pneumonia susceptibility or severity.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Assessing quality using administrative data.

           Lisa Iezzoni (1997)
          Administrative data result from administering health care delivery, enrolling members into health insurance plans, and reimbursing for services. The primary producers of administrative data are the federal government, state governments, and private health care insurers. Although the clinical content of administrative data includes only the demographic characteristics and diagnoses of patients and codes for procedures, these data are often used to evaluate the quality of health care. Administrative data are readily available, are inexpensive to acquire, are computer readable, and typically encompass large populations. They have identified startling practice variations across small geographic areas and-supported research about outcomes of care. Many hospital report cards (which compare patient mortality rates) and physician profiles (which compare resource consumption) are derived from administrative data. However, gaps in clinical information and the billing context compromise the ability to derive valid quality appraisals from administrative data. With some exceptions, administrative data allow limited insight into the quality of processes of care, errors of omission or commission, and the appropriateness of care. In addition, questions about the accuracy and completeness of administrative data abound. Current administrative data are probably most useful as screening tools that highlight areas in which quality should be investigated in greater depth. The growing availability of electronic clinical information will change the nature of administrative data in the future, enhancing opportunities for quality measurement.
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            Cigarette smoking and invasive pneumococcal disease. Active Bacterial Core Surveillance Team.

            Approximately half of otherwise healthy adults with invasive pneumococcal disease are cigarette smokers. We conducted a population-based case-control study to assess the importance of cigarette smoking and other factors as risk factors for pneumococcal infections. We identified immunocompetent patients who were 18 to 64 years old and who had invasive pneumococcal disease (as defined by the isolation of Streptococcus pneumoniae from a normally sterile site) by active surveillance of laboratories in metropolitan Atlanta, Baltimore, and Toronto. Telephone interviews were conducted with 228 patients and 301 control subjects who were reached by random-digit dialing. Fifty-eight percent of the patients and 24 percent of the control subjects were current smokers. Invasive pneumococcal disease was associated with cigarette smoking (odds ratio, 4.1; 95 percent confidence interval, 2.4 to 7.3) and with passive smoking among nonsmokers (odds ratio, 2.5; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.2 to 5.1) after adjustment by logistic-regression analysis for age, study site, and independent risk factors such as male sex, black race, chronic illness, low level of education, and living with young children who were in day care. There were dose-response relations for the current number of cigarettes smoked per day, pack-years of smoking, and time since quitting. The adjusted population attributable risk was 51 percent for cigarette smoking, 17 percent for passive smoking, and 14 percent for chronic illness. Cigarette smoking is the strongest independent risk factor for invasive pneumococcal disease among immunocompetent, nonelderly adults. Because of the high prevalence of smoking and the large population attributable risk, programs to reduce both smoking and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke have the potential to reduce the incidence of pneumococcal disease.
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              Community-acquired pneumonia

              Summary This seminar reviews important features and management issues of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) that are especially relevant to immunocompetent adults in light of new information about cause, clinical course, diagnostic testing, treatment, and prevention. Streptococcus pneumoniae remains the most important pathogen; however, emerging resistance of this organism to antimicrobial agents has affected empirical treatment of CAP. Atypical pathogens have been quite commonly identified in several prospective studies. The clinical significance of these pathogens (with the exception of Legionella spp) is not clear, partly because of the lack of rapid, standardised tests. Diagnostic evaluation of CAP is important for appropriate assessment of severity of illness and for establishment of the causative agent in the disease. Until better rapid diagnostic methods are developed, most patients will be treated empirically. Antimicrobials continue to be the mainstay of treatment, and decisions about specific agents are guided by several considerations that include spectrum of activity, and pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic principles. Several factors have been shown to be associated with a beneficial clinical outcome in patients with CAP. These factors include administration of antimicrobials in a timely manner, choice of antibiotic therapy, and the use of a critical pneumonia pathway. The appropriate use of vaccines against pneumococcal disease and influenza should be encouraged. Several guidelines for management of CAP have recently been published, the recommendations of which are reviewed.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                23 July 2015
                : 10
                : 1417-1425
                [1 ]HealthCore, Inc., Wilmington, DE, USA
                [2 ]AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Wilmington, DE, USA
                [3 ]AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Gaithersburg, MD, USA
                [4 ]AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Cheshire, UK
                [5 ]Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: David M Kern, HealthCore, Inc., 800 Delaware Avenue, Wilmington, DE 19801, USA, Tel +1 302 230 2102, Fax +1 302 230 2020, Email dkern@
                © 2015 Kern et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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