Skip to main content
Shortfalls in malnutrition coding: A mandate for action
The Dietitians Association of Australia 30th National Conference (2013)
  • Ekta Agarwal, The University of Queensland, Australia
  • Maree Ferguson, University of Queensland
  • Merrilyn Banks, University of Queensland
  • Judith Bauer, The University of Queensland
  • Sandra Capra, The University of Queensland
  • Elisabeth Isenring, University of Queensland
The International Classification of Diseases, Version 10, Australian modification (ICD-10-AM) is commonly used to classify diseases in hospital patients. ICD-10-AM defines malnutrition as “BMI <18.5 kg/m2or unintentional weight loss of 5% with evidence of suboptimal intake resulting in subcutaneous fat loss and/or muscle wasting”. The Australasian Nutrition Care Day Survey (ANCDS) is the most comprehensive survey to evaluate malnutrition prevalence in acute care patients from Australian and New Zealand hospitals1. This study determined if malnourished participants were assigned malnutrition-related codes asper ICD-10-AM. The ANCDS recruited acute care patients from 56hospitals. Hospital-based dietitians evaluated participants’ nutritional status using BMI and Subjective Global Assessment (SGA). In keeping with the ICD-10-AM definition, malnutrition was defined as BMI<18.5 kg/m2, SGA-B (moderately malnourished) or SGA-C (severely malnourished). After three months, in this prospective cohort study, hospitals’ health information/medical records department provided coding results for malnourished participants. Although malnutrition was prevalent in 32% (n = 993) of the cohort (N = 3122), a significantly small number were coded for malnutrition (n = 162, 16%, p < 0.001).In 21 hospitals, none of the malnourished participants were coded. Thesis the largest study to provide a snapshot of malnutrition-coding in Australian and New Zealand hospitals. Findings highlight gaps in mal-nutrition documentation and/or subsequent coding, which could potentially result in significant loss of case mix-related revenue for hospitals. Dietitians must lead the way in developing structured processes for malnutrition identification, documentation and coding.
Publication Date
May, 2013
Canberra, Australia
Published version

Agarwal, E., Ferguson, M., Banks, M., Capra, S., Bauer, J., Batterham, M., & Isenring, E. (2013). Shortfalls in malnutrition coding: a mandate for action. Nutrition & Dietetics. Special Issue: Abstracts of the Dietitians Association of Australia 30th National Conference, 23–25 May 2013, National Convention Centre, Canberra, Australia, 70(S1), 4.

Access the journal

© 2013 Dietitians Association of Australia
Citation Information
Ekta Agarwal, Maree Ferguson, Merrilyn Banks, Judith Bauer, et al.. "Shortfalls in malnutrition coding: A mandate for action" The Dietitians Association of Australia 30th National Conference (2013)
Available at: