The Buerau of Labour Statistics-State Health Department Select Committee on Occupational Illnesses and Injuries conducted a study of hospital discharge records to determine their usefulness for identifying cases of occupational disease. Four states searched the diagnosis fields on computerized hospital discharge records for selected occupational lung diseases; pneumoconiosis, extrinsic allergic alvetlitis, and respiratory conditions due to chemical fumes and vapors.
The hospital discharge data identified more cases of pneumoconiosis than did the BLS data systems. Numerous cases of extrinsic allegric alveolitis and respiratory conditions due to chemical fumes and vapors were also identified. Patterns evidenced in the data were generally consistent with current knowledge of the disease. The inclusion of industry and occupation on the hospital discharge record, further study of the quality of diagnosis coding, and the use of these data by additional states will enhance the usefulness of these data for occupational disease surveillance.
©1991 The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine