Multisite validation of a simple electronic health record algorithm for identifying diagnosed obstructive sleep apnea

Brendan T. Keenan, H. Lester Kirchner, Olivia J. Veatch, Kenneth M. Borthwick, Vicki A. Davenport, John C. Feemster, Maged Gendy, Thomas R. Gossard, Frances M. Pack, Laura Sirikulvadhana, Luke N. Teigen, Paul C. Timm, Beth A. Malow, Timothy I. Morgenthaler, Phyllis C. Zee, Allan I. Pack, Janet D. Robishaw, Stephen F. Derose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Study Objectives: We examined the performance of a simple algorithm to accurately distinguish cases of diagnosed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and noncases using the electronic health record (EHR) across six health systems in the United States. Methods: Retrospective analysis of EHR data was performed. The algorithm defined cases as individuals with ≥ 2 instances of specific International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-9 and/or ICD-10 diagnostic codes (327.20, 327.23, 327.29, 780.51, 780.53, 780.57, G4730, G4733 and G4739) related to sleep apnea on separate dates in their EHR. Noncases were defined by the absence of these codes. Using chart reviews on 120 cases and 100 noncases at each site (n = 1,320 total), positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) were calculated. Results: The algorithm showed excellent performance across sites, with a PPV (95% confidence interval) of 97.1 (95.6, 98.2) and NPV of 95.5 (93.5, 97.0). Similar performance was seen at each site, with all NPV and PPV estimates ≥ 90% apart from a somewhat lower PPV of 87.5 (80.2, 92.8) at one site. A modified algorithm of ≥ 3 instances improved PPV to 94.9 (88.5, 98.3) at this site, but excluded an additional 18.3% of cases. Thus, performance may be further improved by requiring additional codes, but this reduces the number of determinate cases. Conclusions: A simple EHR-based case-identification algorithm for diagnosed OSA showed excellent predictive characteristics in a multisite sample from the United States. Future analyses should be performed to understand the effect of undiagnosed disease in EHR-defined noncases. This algorithm has wide-ranging applications for EHR-based OSA research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-183
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 15 2020


  • Case-identification algorithm
  • Diagnostic codes
  • Electronic health record
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Phenotype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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