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Volume 9, Number 3—March 2003

Dispatch

The National Capitol Region’s Emergency Department Syndromic Surveillance System: 
Do Chief Complaint and Discharge Diagnosis Yield Different Results?

Elizabeth M. Begier*, Denise Sockwell†, Leslie M. Branch†, John O. Davies-Cole‡, LaVerne H. Jones‡, Leslie Edwards§, Julie A. Casani§, and David Blythe§Comments to Author 
Author affiliations: *Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA; †Virginia Department of Health, Richmond, Virginia, USA; ‡District of Columbia Department of Health, Washington, D.C., USA; §Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Main Article

Table 1

Relative frequencies of clinical syndromes and kappa statistics for emergency department syndromic-coding results comparing chief complaint vs. discharge diagnosis, National Capitol Region, December 2001a

Syndrome Chief complaint, % Discharge diagnosis, % Kappaa Standard error
Death
0.23
0.26
0.6307
0.0160
Sepsis
0.03
0.46
0.1048
0.0071
Rash
1.38
0.79
0.5841
0.0154
Respiratory
13.37
10.61
0.6839
0.0158
Gastrointestinal
13.24
9.26
0.6768
0.0157
Unspecified infection
3.85
2.68
0.4191
0.0157
Neurologic
0.82
0.33
0.0846
0.0145
Other
67.08
75.61
0.6548
0.0156
Overall b b 0.6385 0.0104

aA total of 3,919 emergency department visits from two regional hospitals were used for all analyses.
bFrequencies not applicable to calculation of overall kappa as two categorical variables with eight values, one for each syndrome, were used for this analysis.

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