Validation of diagnostic coding for interstitial lung diseases in an electronic health record system in Hong Kong

Yisha Ye, Richard Hubbard, Hoi Yee Li, Shun Cheong Ho, Chor-Wing Sing, Ching-Lung Cheung, David Chi-Leung Lam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Large electronic medical record (EMR) databases can facilitate epidemiology research into uncommon diseases such as interstitial lung disease (ILD). Given the rarity and diagnostic difficulty of ILD, the validity of the coding in EMR requires clarification. We aimed to assess the validity of International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision (ICD-9) code algorithms for identifying ILD in the territory-wide electronic medical health record system of Clinical Data Analysis and Reporting System (CDARS) in Hong Kong. Method: Patients who visited the Queen Mary Hospital in 2005–2018 with ILD were identified using the following ICD-9 codes: post-inflammatory pulmonary fibrosis (PPF; ICD-9: 515), idiopathic fibrosing alveolitis (IFA; ICD-9: 516.3), connective tissue disease-associated interstitial lung disease (CTD-ILD; ICD-9: 517.2, 517.8, 714.81), sarcoidosis (ICD-9: 135) and extrinsic allergic alveolitis (EAA; ICD-9: 495). A random selection was conducted in cases with diagnostic code of PPF and IFA, where a relative higher case number was identified. All the cases of CTD-ILD, sarcoidosis and EAA were included in validation for relatively small case number. Results: Two hundred and sixty nine cases were validated using medical record review by a respiratory specialist. The overall positive predictive value (PPV) was 79% (95% CI, 74%–84%). In subgroup analysis, true positive case numbers of PPF, IFA, CTD-ILD, sarcoidosis and EAA were 74/100 (74%), 95/100 (95%), 11/15 (73%), 27/32 (84%) and 6/22 (27%), respectively. Conclusions: This was the first ICD-9 coding validation for ILD in Hong Kong CDARS. Our study demonstrated that using ICD-9 algorithms 515, 516.3, 517.2, 517.8, 714.81 and 135 enhanced identifications of ILDs with PPV that was reliable to support utility of CDARS database for further clinical research on ILDs. The validity is particularly high with 516.3.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-523
Number of pages5
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • EHR
  • algorithms
  • electronic health record
  • interstitial lung disease
  • validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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