Development of a Coding and Crosswalk Tool for Occupations and Industries

Source: Thomas Rémen, Lesley Richardson, Corinne Pilorget, Gilles Palmer, Jack Siemiatycki, Jérôme Lavoué, Annals of Work Exposures and Health, Advance Access, June 15, 2018
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From the abstract:
Introduction:
Job coding into a standard occupation or industry classification is commonly performed in occupational epidemiology and occupational health. Sometimes, it is necessary to code jobs into multiple classifications or to convert job codes from one classification to another. We developed a generic tool, called CAPS-Canada (http://www.caps-canada.ca/), that combines a computer-assisted coding tool covering seven International, Canadian and US occupation and industry classifications and an assistant facilitating crosswalks from one classification to another. The objectives of this paper are to present the different functions of the CAPS-Canada tool and to assess their contribution through an inter-rater reliability study.

Method:
The crosswalk assistant was built based on a database of >30,000 jobs coded during a previous project. We evaluated to what extent it would allow automatic translation between pairs of classifications. The influence of CAPS-Canada on agreement between coders was assessed through an inter-rater reliability study comparing three approaches: manual coding, coding with CAPS-Canada without the crosswalk assistant, and coding with the complete tool. The material for this trial consisted of a random sample of 1000 jobs extracted from a case–control study and divided into three subgroups of equivalent size.

Results:
Across the classification systems, the crosswalk assistant would provide useful information for 83–99% of jobs (median 95%) in a population similar to ours. Eighteen to eighty-one percent of jobs (median 56%) could be entirely automatically recoded. Based on our sample of 1000 jobs, inter-rater reliability in occupation coding ranged from 35.7 to 66.5% (median 53.7%) depending on the combination of classification/resolution. Compared with manual coding, the use of CAPS-Canada substantially improved inter-rater reliability.

Conclusion:
CAPS-Canada is an attractive alternative to manual coding and is particularly relevant for coding a job into multiple classifications or for recoding jobs into other classifications.