Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The 318 ICD-10-CM codes for diabetes mellitus

In a previous post, we pointed out that despite the fact that there are very few known subtypes of diabetes mellitus, ICD-10-CM has approximately 290 codes for diabetes mellitus, not counting gestational diabetes mellitus.

In the 2009 release of ICD-10-CM, we count a total of 318 codes for diabetes mellitus, including gestational diabetes mellitus. The reason for the large number of codes is that ICD-10-CM combines multiple disease classes into a single code.

For example, the ICD-10-CM code E11.621 Type 2 diabetes mellitus with foot ulcer, contains two disease classes: diabetes mellitus and foot ulcer. For sure, this code implicitly means that the former caused the latter (note that this causal relationship is inaccessible to the computer), but that augments our point. Nothing is its own cause and thus these two diseases are distinct.

We provide here on Google docs the 318 codes and their text strings, in a spreadsheet format that anyone can at least copy-and-paste into their own spreadsheet or database table. An easy way to demonstrate the needless complexity caused by combination codes.

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