Value of ICD-9 coded chief complaints for detection of epidemics
To assess the value of ICD-9 coded chief complaints for early detection of epidemics, we measured sensitivity, positive predictive value, and timeliness of Influenza detection using a respiratory set (RS) of ICD-9 codes and an Influenza set (IS). We also measured inherent timeliness of these data using the cross-correlation function. We found that, for a one-year period, the detectors had sensitivity of 100% (1/1 epidemic) and positive predictive values of 50% (1/2) for RS and 25% (1/4) for IS. The timeliness of detection using ICD-9 coded chief complaints was one week earlier than the detection using Pneumonia and Influenza deaths (the gold standard). The inherent timeliness of ICD-9 data measured by the cross-correlation function was two weeks earlier than the gold standard.