Identifying cumulative trauma disorders of the upper extremity in workers' compensation databases
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BACKGROUND: Impeding the use of workers' compensation databases for surveillance of cumulative trauma disorder of the upper extremity (CTDUE) is the lack of valid and reliable extraction strategies. METHODS: Using the Z795-96 Coding of Work Injury or Disease Information standard, an algorithm was developed to classify claims as definite, possible, or non-CTDUE. Reliability was assessed with standardized claim reviews. RESULTS: Moderate to substantial agreement (Kappa = 0.48, 95% CI 0.42-0.54, n = 328; weighted Kappa = 0.75, 95% CI 0.70-0.80, n = 328) was demonstrated. The algorithm produced relatively homogeneous groups of definite and non-CTDUE claims but 29.1% of the possible CTDUE claims were categorized as definite CTDUE by claim review. Part of body agreement was almost perfect (Kappa = 0.81-1.00) when determining whether the upper extremity or specific parts of the upper extremity were involved. CONCLUSIONS: The algorithm can be used to estimate the number of CTDUE and extract homogeneous groups of definite and non-CTDUE claims. Furthermore, certain upper extremity part of body codes can be used to target anatomically defined claims.
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