Health Language Blog

2013 Terminology Trend Watch: A Mid-Year Update

Posted on 06/12/13


At the beginning of the year, we presented three terminology management trends to watch for in 2013. You can read the full post here, but in summary, we predicted that the trends providers would be most focused on this year would involve: Meaningful Use; ICD-10; and a lesser discussed concept, Hierarchical Condition Categories (HCCs). 

Now that we’re nearly six months into the year, we can report that our predictions were pretty much on the mark. Providers we speak with are concerned about the issues we forecasted, but also more narrow aspects of specific terminologies. Here’s how the actual top three trends have emerged for 2013 so far: 

  • Trend #1: Meaningful Use – LOINC. As predicted, provider organizations are focused on meeting the terminology standardization requirements of Stage 2 Meaningful Use, which they can start attesting for in 2014. Interestingly, the Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC®), which providers need to use to communicate laboratory data in Stage 2, is emerging as the top terminology mapping inquiry so far. Additionally, the rise in health information exchanges (HIEs) and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) has shed light on the need for standardized terminologies, including LOINC, for improved data.  
  • Trend #2: Meaningful Use – RxNorm. Similar to LOINC, RxNorm is a vocabulary required for Stage 2 Meaningful Use attestation. Instead of lab data, however, RxNorm is used to communicate medication data. We’re discovering that many providers are unfamiliar with this terminology and are seeking our help to map their current pharmacy management codes to RxNorm. As with LOINC, another factor likely driving this trend is the growth of ACOs because they require providers to share medication data across facilities in a CMS-compliant manner. 
  • Trend #3: HCCs. Since many value-based and accountable care payment models are risk-based, HCCs are helping guide some of the financial forecasting that provider organizations are conducting. ICD-9 codes currently are used to classify each of the 87 HCCs. As a result, ICD-10, which hasn’t yet emerged as a top overall trend, may be influencing the attention on HCCs this year. ICD-10 should greatly expand those categories, which will impact revenue. 

How do these trends align with the terminology management challenges at your organization? Contact Health Language - let us set up a demonstration of our software for managing and updating standard and localized healthcare terminology. 

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Topics: Meaningful use, ICD-10, HCCs, LOINC, Hierarchical Condition Categories, Trends, technology, RxNorm

About the Author

Soraya Assar