Australia’s Health Information Management Journal (HIMJ) is the peer-reviewed international journal of the Health Information Management Association of Australia (HIMAA).

In January 2020, HIMJ released its very first ever Special Issue. Given clinical coders make up such a large part of the health information workforce, it was most appropriate that the focus of this first Special Issue should be Clinical Coding, and the quality and integrity of health data. The Special Issue is published as Issue no. 1 of Volume 49 (January 2020), and showcases 10 national and international papers discussing many of the issues that affect data quality both currently and in the future. These include computer assisted coding, the role of clinical documentation specialists, barriers to coding quality and the resulting impacts of these barriers in such areas as DRG assignment.

The papers are introduced in an Editorial by Jennie Shepheard, who has decades of experience as a HIM and Principal Health Information and Classification Advisor for the Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria (Australia). This collection of papers raises awareness of how important the clinical coding function is to the quality and integrity of our health data, and as Jennie says. “challenges us all to find solutions that will improve the quality of coded data, protect its integrity and support the clinical coding workforce.”

The Editorial and papers are available through the hyperlinks below.



Clinical coding and the quality and integrity of health data

By Jennie Shepheard


Narrative Review

Computer-assisted clinical coding: A narrative review of the literature on its benefits, limitations, implementation and impact on clinical coding professionals

By Sharon Campbell and Katrina Giadresco


Research Articles

A qualitative evaluation of clinically coded data quality from health information manager perspectives

By Chelsea Doktorchik, Mingshan Lu, Hude Quan, Cathy Ringham, and Cathy Eastwood


Health records as the basis of clinical coding: Is the quality adequate? A qualitative study of medical coders’ perceptions

By Vera Alonso, João Vasco Santos, Marta Pinto, Joana Ferreira, Isabel Lema, Fernando Lopes, and Alberto Freitas


Suicidal and self-harm presentations to Emergency Departments: The challenges of identification through diagnostic codes and presenting complaints

By Jerneja Sveticic, Nicholas CJ Stapelberg, and Kathryn Turner


Importance of coding co-morbidities for APR-DRG assignment: Focus on cardiovascular and respiratory diseases

By Julio Souza, João Vasco Santos, Veronica Bolon Canedo, Amparo Betanzos, Domingos Alves, and Alberto Freitas


Validation of ICD-10 codes shows intracranial venous thrombosis incidence to be higher than previously reported

By Joel D Handley and Hedley CA Emsley


A review of the complexity adjustment in the Korean Diagnosis-Related Group (KDRG)

By Sujeong Kim, Chaiyoung Jung, Junheum Yon, Hyeonseon Park, Hunsik Yang, Hyeon Kang, Dongjin Oh, Kukhwan Kwon, and Sukil Kim



The importance of clinical documentation improvement for Australian hospitals

By Patricia Hay, Kathy Wilton, Jennifer Barker, Julie Mortley, and Megan Cumerlato


Forum Article

Malnutrition definitions in clinical practice: To be E43 or not to be?

By Wendy Phillips, Jennifer Doley, and Kelli Boi



Joan Henderson, BAppSc (HIM) (Hons 1), PhD (Med)

Senior Research Fellow (Hon), University of Sydney

Editor, Health Information Management Journal (HIMJ)