Recently, the National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders posted a survey on our website as a part of ESSD (European Society for Swallowing Disorders) World Swallowing Day.
This survey was designed to determine the use of ICD (International Classification of Diseases) codes for dysphagia in medical reports. The World Health Organization defines the ICD as, “the standard diagnostic tool for epidemiology, health management and clinical purposes. This includes the analysis of the general health situation of population groups. It is used to monitor the incidence and prevalence of diseases and other health problems, proving a picture of the general health situation of countries and populations.”
Using ICD codes for dysphagia is one simple way that health care professionals can raise awareness and bring attention to the incidence and prevalence of this condition. However, the survey results suggest that less than half of the patients who were diagnosed with an oropharyngeal dysphagia had an ICD code for dysphagia documented in their medical report.
The results from the survey’s question that specifically addresses the documentation of dysphagia using the ICD codes are shown below. 145 people from 37 countries around the globe responded to the survey. These respondents screen and/or assessed 1,418 patients for dysphagia in a one-week period. Of those 1,418, 1,042 were positive for dysphagia, and 964 were positive for oropharyngeal dysphagia. However, only 448 (46%) of the patients had the ICD code for dysphagia documented in their medical reports.
ESSD Raw Survey Results
Consistently and accurately documenting dysphagia using the ICD codes may be one easy way to increase awareness of this condition, which could have significant positive outcomes, such as increased funding for research for prevention and treatment of dysphagia.