Many state health departments (approximately 60%) compile diagnoses of patients discharged from hospitals located within the state. These hospital discharge data sets include diagnoses encoded using the ICD-9-CM coding system (discussed in Chapter 32), dates of admission and discharge, home zip code, hospital zip code, and patient age. Evaluators can use the diagnoses to construct reference epidemiological curves for diseases such as influenza, salmonella, respiratory syncytial virus, and rotavirus. Using the location information, evaluators can construct these curves for different zip codes, cities, counties, or states. Examples of hospital discharge data sets include the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) data set, which comprises all discharges for all hospitals in
Pennsylvania, and the Utah Hospital Discharge Database, which comprises all discharges for hospitals in Utah except Intermountain Shriners Hospital, which is exempt from reporting requirements because it is a charity hospital.
As an example of how these hospital discharge diagnosis data sets are used, Hogan and colleagues defined four sets of ICD-9-CM codes: pneumonia and influenza (P&I), bronchiolitis due to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), rotavirus gastroenteritis, and pediatric gastroenteritis due to all causes (Hogan et al., 2003). They used these sets of codes to form time series against which to compare sales of pediatric electrolytes using the correlation function and detection algorithm methods.
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