Developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Clinical Classifications Software (CCS) is a tool for clustering patient diagnoses and procedures into a manageable number of clinically meaningful categories. CCS offers researchers the ability to group conditions and procedures without having to sort through thousands of codes. This “clinical grouper” makes it easier to quickly understand patterns of diagnoses and procedures so that health plans, policy makers, and researchers can analyze costs, utilization, and outcomes associated with particular illnesses and procedures.
CCS collapses diagnosis and procedure codes from the International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM), which contains more than 14,000 diagnosis codes and 3,900 procedure codes. Without the CCS tool, the large number of ICD-9-CM codes makes statistical analysis and reporting difficult and time-consuming.
CCS consists of two related classification systems, single-level and multi-level, which are designed to meet different needs. Single-level CCS is most useful for ranking of diagnoses and procedures and for direct integration into risk adjustment and other software. Multi-level CCS is ideal for evaluating larger aggregations of conditions and procedures or exploring these groupings in greater detail.