Mil Med. 2021 Jul 19:usab300. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usab300. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: Neuromusculoskeletal injuries (NMSKIs) are the primary cause of ambulatory visits, lost duty days, and disability discharges in the U.S. Military. Methods for accurately grouping injury diagnoses are required to allow for surveillance and research identifying risk factors and prevention strategies. The CDC method of grouping these diagnoses includes only the S and T codes (Injury, poisoning, and certain other consequences of external causes) from the ICD-10-CM. However, this does not include the majority of the NMSKI depleting soldier readiness; the M (Disease of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue) and G (Diseases of the nervous system) codes should be included as these also contain injuries. The goal was to develop a new matrix that would comprehensively capture all NMSKIs experienced by military personnel. This paper details the development of the Occupational Military Neuromusculoskeletal Injury (OMNI) Matrix and characterizes the number and rates of active duty U.S. Army injuries as measured by the OMNI compared to other matrices.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A team of researchers including physical therapists, physician assistants, occupational therapists, physicians, and epidemiologists developed the OMNI. The OMNI utilizes the commonly accepted injury definition inclusive of any anatomical complaint resulting in pain or dysfunction and categorizes injuries from the G, M, S, and T codes. The OMNI follows the CDC’s matrix structure with three body region levels, each becoming more specific, and adds two levels called Description of the Injury. Additionally, the OMNI categorizes injuries as Injury Type (Acute, Overuse, Either, or Not Applicable), NMSKI-Type (NMSKI, NMSKI that could be caused by occupational/training tasks, and not an NMSKI), and a miscellaneous category that demarks injuries as Superficial, Blood Vessels, and/or Internal Organs. The different grouping methods in the OMNI provide standardization for many possible injury case definitions. The OMNI allows these injury categories to be included/excluded in a standardized fashion to meet the researchers’ scientific questions. To enumerate the number of NMSKI that would be captured by the available matrices, the OMNI, the CDC’s matrix, and the U.S. Army Public Health Center’s (APHC) Taxonomy of Injuries were applied to active duty Army outpatient population data and all incident NMSKI diagnostic codes entered in electronic medical provider encounters for calendar years 2017 and 2018.
RESULTS: Using the OMNI resulted in the capture of over 800,000 more injuries than the CDC’s matrix and over 200,000 more than the APHC Taxonomy. The NMSKI rate utilizing the OMNI was 193 per 100 soldier-years in 2017 (892,780 NMSKI) compared to 23 per 100 soldier-years for the CDC’s matrix, and 141 per 100 soldier-years for the APHC Taxonomy.
CONCLUSION: The OMNI provides an updated standardized method of assessing injuries, particularly in occupational military injury research, that can be utilized for Military Performance Division of injury across many countries and still allow for replication of methods and comparison of results. Additionally, the OMNI has the capacity to capture a greater burden of injury beyond what is captured by other available matrices.
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