Health Language Blog

The Impacts of the 21st Century Cures Act

Posted on 01/17/17 | Comments

The 21st Century Cures Act was signed into law just last month.  This broad law reduces the bureaucracy for drug approval, provides billions of dollars to the NIH for research, and provides funding to state governments to deal with the opioid epidemic.  But along with these touted benefits, this law includes significant impacts for healthcare IT. 


Topics: EHR, data normalization, interoperability, patient engagement, Consumer Friendly Descriptions, patient empowerment

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.


Topics: Standard terminologies, RxNorm, data normalization

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.


Topics: Standard terminologies, LOINC, data normalization

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.


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

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.


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

Mastering the Data Normalization Cycle

Posted on 06/28/16 | Comments

A healthcare provider or payer that goes through a data normalization project will want to make sure its investment in time and money continues to pay off down the road.

You’ve obtained executive buy-in, conducted a data inventory, identified key constraints, prioritized projects, established a governance structure, and embarked on your first initiative. Ideally your project resulted in more consistent and useful data, with demonstrable benefits for your organization. Your next order of business is to make sure your useful data stays that way. A healthcare organization that fails to continuously monitor its normalized model runs the risk of returning to its previous condition: data chaos.


Topics: data normalization, governance, data normalization cycle

Data Normalization: Mapping to Existing Standards vs Creating Local Standards

Posted on 05/11/16 | Comments

If you’ve followed the previous steps outlined in this blog series, you should have a good idea of how to pursue data normalization within your healthcare organization. But challenges will continue to arise once you get underway. One of the decisions a healthcare provider or payer will face in the course of a project is whether to use an existing industry standard or create a local terminology. As it turns out, the answer isn’t cut and dried, and will depend to a large degree on the use case involved.


Topics: data normalization, selecting standards, mapping, local standards

How to Normalize Your First Project with Your Data Normalization Solution

Posted on 02/24/16 | Comments


So far we have outlined the steps from securing executive buy-in to establishing a governance process—you should be ready to start your first normalization project (I know I am!).

A project team that has gone through an impact analysis and prioritized its data normalization projects will probably have a short list of likely project candidates. The two critical factors to consider when selecting the initial project are size and impact. The project must be small enough to be manageable and likely to be completed in a reasonable time, but large enough to demonstrate a meaningful early win to key stakeholders. Resistance to changes (such as formal data governance processes) can be minimized if participants readily see how they will benefit.


Topics: data normalization, selecting standards, mapping

Establish a Governance Process with Your Data Normalization Solution

Posted on 12/08/15 | Comments

In our last blog, we discussed selecting your first project to use for data normalization. A healthcare provider or payer pursuing a normalization project must establish a governance process to ensure the organization doesn’t revert to a chaotic data state. This post discusses the creation of a solid governance structure that preserves your investment in good data. 


Topics: data normalization

Prioritize Your Data Normalization To-Do List with an Impact Anaysis

Posted on 10/14/15 | Comments

Welcome back!  So you have:

Now it’s time to decide on your first data normalization project. In this blog post I will provide insights into how to choose a project that you can complete successfully.

Even though you now have executive buy-in, it is key to demonstrate the value of that first project as quickly as possible. That’s the focus of the next step in the data normalization lifecycle: conducting an impact analysis to prioritize your data normalization to-do list.


Topics: data normalization