Use of Diagnosis Code in Mental Health Syndrome Definition


Between 2006 and 2013, the rate of emergency department (ED) visits related to mental and substance use disorders increased substantially. This increase was higher for mental disorders visits (55 percent for depression, anxiety or stress reactions and 52 percent for psychoses or bipolar disorders) than for substance use disorders (37 percent) visits. This increasing number of ED visits by patients with mental disorders indicates a growing burden on the health-care delivery system. New methods of surveillance are needed to identify and understand these changing trends in ED utilization and affected underlying populations. Syndromic surveillance can be leveraged to monitor mental health-related ED visits in near real-time. ED syndromic surveillance systems primarily rely on patient chief complaints (CC) to monitor and detect health events. Some studies suggest that the use of ED discharge diagnoses data (Dx), in addition to or instead of CC, may improve sensitivity and specificity of case identification.

Objective: The objectives of this study are to

(1) create a mental health syndrome definition for syndromic surveillance to monitor mental health-related ED visits in near real time;

(2) examine whether CC data alone can accurately detect mental health related ED visits; and

(3) assess the added value of using Dx data to detect mental health-related ED visits.

Primary Topic Areas: 
Original Publication Year: 
Event/Publication Date: 
January, 2018

January 19, 2018

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