Health Language Blog

How SNOMED CT Compliance Will Benefit Your Patients

Posted on 01/28/15 | Comments

Historically, a doctor recorded a patient’s medical issues on a problem list included as part of the patient’s paper chart.

Chronic illnesses and major medical issues were included on the list. Such paper records faced severe limitations, however. The chart was housed in one physical location, restricting accessibility. Each healthcare provider organization working with the patient would maintain its own records -- including problem lists -- leading to a highly fragmented view of the patient. Caregivers moving towards a more collaborative care delivery model would soon find paper records an undesirable and insecure way to share patient data. In addition, these paper-based problem lists were not always consistently maintained.  

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Topics: SNOMED CT

How to Use Code Groups for Cohort Rules Management

Posted on 01/22/15 | Comments

Code groups have a number of uses and one of the more prevalent examples is the creation of cohort identification rules.

Those code groups, bags of codes that represent clinical concepts, are often associated with clinical quality measures (CQMs). But cohort identification ranks among the top uses outside of CQMs.  Healthcare delivery systems must create cohort identification rules within IT systems so that their care management programs can properly identify at-risk patients. This is important for both big data analytics and population health management.

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Topics: cohort rules management

A Banking Analogy that Explains Semantic Interoperability

Posted on 01/16/15 | Comments

Without semantic interoperability among disparate healthcare IT systems, sharing data in a useful way is impossible.

While a doctor knows that dropsy describes the same illness as congestive heart failure, a computer typically can’t make that type of distinction. Semantic interoperability, however, creates a common vocabulary that paves the way for accurate and reliable communication among computers.

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Topics: semantic interoperability

Pillars of an Enterprise Terminology Management Platform

Posted on 01/09/15 | Comments

Enterprise Terminology Management is an umbrella term that covers a range of technologies and services that aim to achieve a common goal: help healthcare organizations overcome the interoperability issues associated with multiple, incompatible medical terminologies.

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Topics: enterprise terminology management

How Code Groups are the Building Blocks of Important Health IT Initiatives

Posted on 12/29/14 | Comments

Code groups (also known as value sets ) are codes and terms taken from standard terminologies which are used to define clinical concepts.

In essence, code groups are collections of codes that represent such ideas as a category of drugs or a reportable disease. For example, a health system could group together all of the ICD-9, ICD-10, SNOMED-CT and RxNorm codes that could indicate patients with diabetes. In this case, “patients with diabetes” is the clinical concept defined by the code group.

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Topics: Meaningful use requirements, code groups, value sets

The Need for Enterprise Terminology Management in 2015

Posted on 12/23/14 | Comments

The healthcare sector lacks a common clinical vocabulary that spans the rapidly growing population of IT systems.

The problem has both local and cross-industry dimensions. At the local level, a given health delivery organization may manage 40 or more separate systems, each of which has its own clinical terminology infrastructure. The disparate terminologies make it difficult for such an organization to leverage the data in a meaningful and consistent way. The problem becomes magnified at the inter-organizational level when two or more health systems attempt to share and analyze data.

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Topics: enterprise terminology management

How to Overcome Semantic Interoperability Hurdles

Posted on 12/17/14 | Comments

Semantic interoperability spans the communications gap among divergent health IT (HIT) systems and data sources.

Electronic data and HIT systems have proliferated across the healthcare sector in recent years. Unfortunately, HIT innovation has developed in isolated pockets, with initial development taking place in billing and claims, followed by localized development of ancillary clinical systems such as laboratory, radiology, and pharmacy, and, more recently, electronic health record (EHR) systems.

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Topics: semantic interoperability

6 Problems of Departmental Approaches to Terminology Management

Posted on 12/12/14 | Comments

Executives leading individual departments within a health system may hit upon the need for terminology management.

A hospital pharmacy, for example, may decide to move away from local drug terminologies toward the RxNorm standard to support an HIE initiative. A laboratory may abandon localized labs nomenclature and adopt LOINC to support an interoperability project with their EHR. Clinicians may drop hand-written patient documentation in favor of SNOMED-CT for problem lists in order to attest for Meaningful Use. Or perhaps two departments will agree upon the use of particular terminology standards to accurately represent their patients within their clinical quality measures.

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Topics: clinical terminology management

Why It's Important to Automate the Terminology Mapping Process

Posted on 12/03/14 | Comments

Communication among healthcare IT systems has reached a critical stage as providers and payers rollout more applications to improve patient outcomes and boost operational efficiencies.

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Topics: data normalization

What Are Code Groups and How Do They Relate to CQMs?

Posted on 11/19/14 | Comments

The Building Blocks of Clinical Rules

Code groups (also referenced as value sets) are just that: groups of codes that come from one or more standard vocabularies. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), value sets are used to define clinical concepts, such as “clinical visit” or a “reportable disease.”  The sets consist of codes expressed as numerical values and terms are taken from standard terminologies such as SNOMED CT, RxNorm, LOINC and ICD-10-CM. 

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Topics: code groups, CQMs