Health Language Blog

The Importance of Standardized Healthcare Terminology

Posted on 09/14/16 | Comments

In our previous blog, we discussed the importance of leveraging administrative data for better quality assessment. As the wrap-up to this standards blog series, I want to look back at Crossing the Quality Chasm as a foundational work for improving the quality of healthcare delivery. This paper called not only for better quality but also for a reduction in the cost of that care--this at a time when the population is aging, technology is evolving, and research is rapidly expanding evidenced-based medicine. At least eight of the 13 recommendations made by the authors of Crossing the Quality Chasm directly involve the collection, aggregation, and actionable use of healthcare data. The remaining five are supporting those objectives through the development of committees that address quality care and reimbursement models, and in training the workforce to meet the increasing needs of an industry that is becoming more and more reliant on data and analytics.

Read more...

Topics: RxNorm, LOINC, SNOMED, ICD-10, Administrative Data, semantic interoperability, billing

FHIR: An Evolving Opportunity

Posted on 09/08/16 | Comments

Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) from Health Level Seven (HL7) is making waves across the healthcare industry. In fact, EHR vendors including Cerner, Epic and Meditech are quickly embracing the next-generation framework for its potential to advance data mobility and interoperability.

While still under development, the FHIR framework leverages the latest web standards and applies a tight focus on implementation, while also offering significant flexibility. In terms of more meaningful exchange of information, FHIR will provide the infrastructure to make data:

  • Available easily on demand
  • Retrievable across disparate EMR and other HIT applications
  • Understandable using common healthcare language

Read more...

Topics: FHIR, interoperability, HL7

Leveraging Administrative Data for Better Quality Assessment

Posted on 08/30/16 | Comments

The Role of Data Collection Standards for Race, Ethnicity, Sex, Primary Language, and Disability Status

In this installment of our Terminology Standards series, we will explore the growing need for accurate tracking of patient demographics, evolving industry standards, and additional best practice steps for ensuring data is complete.

At a high level, healthcare industry movements aim to improve care delivery across regions and groups by assessing such quality indicators as barriers to access, health disparities, and the performance of community safety nets. Yet, obtaining meaningful data to measure these factors has proved daunting. As such, there is increasing interest in examining "administrative" data housed in computerized records and billing processes.

Read more...

Topics: terminology, Administrative Data, Quality Assessment, population health management

RxNorm: Addressing Medication Information Exchange

Posted on 08/24/16 | Comments

Part Three of our Terminology Standards series introduced LOINC as the standard of choice for exchange of laboratory and clinical information. This fourth blog introduces RxNorm as the foundation for accurate exchange of medication and prescription information.

Health information exchange is a multifaceted undertaking that encompasses the introduction and adoption of a variety of industry standards to support interoperability. Just as LOINC addresses data exchange for laboratory information, RxNorm provides the foundation for sharing medication information.

Read more...

Topics: RxNorm, data normalization, Standard terminologies

LOINC: A Better Path to Laboratory Data Exchange

Posted on 08/17/16 | Comments

Part Three of our Terminology Standards series we introduced SNOMED CT as a comprehensive standard for exchanging clinical content in an accurate, meaningful way. In this installment, we explore use of LOINC for exchange of laboratory and clinical information.

Value-based care models demand more collaborative care delivery built on the timely sharing of critical patient information, such as labs, vital signs, or clinical documents. Because data is represented in different ways across local and disparate systems, healthcare organizations face notable challenges to sharing, exchanging, and aggregating data in an accurate, meaningful way.

Read more...

Topics: Standard terminologies, data normalization, LOINC

SNOMED CT: Why it matters to you

Posted on 08/03/16 | Comments

In Part One of our Terminology Standards blog series, we introduced the goal of using industry standards to achieve semantic interoperability and promote better information sharing. The second blog tackled coding and billing standards. This third installment describes the importance of SNOMED CT as the foundation for standardizing clinical content in EHRs.

Read more...

Topics: SNOMED, SNOMED CT, standards, interoperability, data normalization

The Role of Healthcare Data Governance in Big Data Analytics

Posted on 08/01/16 | Comments

On Friday last week, the online news publication HealthITAnalytics.com published a feature story about the importance of data governance, “The Role of Healthcare Data Governance in Big Data Analytics.” The author, Jennifer Bresnick, does an excellent job of explaining what data governance is, how it differs from information governance, and why healthcare IT professionals need to take a closer look at how data is managed at their organizations. Without strong data governance in place, she writes, “organizations will not be able to move beyond the basics of record keeping and develop the analytics competencies that will become vital survival skills in the emerging world of value-based care.”

Read more...

Topics: Analytics, big data, data governance, information governance

Medical Billing and Coding:  Exciting Changes Ahead

Posted on 07/20/16 | Comments

 

It’s an interesting time to be in healthcare, especially medical billing and coding! Over the next few years we will see major changes that will help us spend our healthcare dollars more wisely, and keep people healthier. These changes will have a profound impact on patients’ and physicians’ daily lives.

Read more...

Topics: billing, Coding Challenges, ICD-10, icd-9, EHR, ACA, LOINC & SNOMED, CPT

Hierarchical Condition Categories Part 1: What’s all the Buzz About?

Posted on 07/13/16 | Comments

There is quite a bit of discussion around Hierarchical Condition Categories (HCCs) these days. And for good reason: as the risk adjustment model used since 2004 to determine reimbursement for various Medicare plans, the HCC framework is progressively being applied to numerous healthcare reform initiatives. In this two-part series, we break down the basics of HCCs, why they matter and how all healthcare stakeholders should respond to them going forward.

Read more...

Topics: HCCs, clinical documentation

How to Use Standardized Healthcare Terminologies to Meet Your Quality Care Goals

Posted on 07/06/16 | Comments

Terminology Standards Blog Series: Part 1

In the seminal work Crossing the Quality Chasm, published by the Institute of Medicine in 2001, there was a clear call to action for the U.S. healthcare system. This work has driven much of what we are seeing in healthcare information management today. Crossing the Quality Chasm called for healthcare to be safe, effective, patient centered, timely, efficient, and equitable. The argument was made that the adoption of information technology is critical to meeting these goals. I would agree.

Read more...

Topics: terminology, semantic interoperability, data normalization, quality reporting