Health Language Blog

Four Reasons Healthcare Organizations Need to Simplify the Documentation of the Clinician Diagnosis Process

Posted on 10/25/16 | Comments

Finding and selecting the right diagnosis code is critical to both patient care and revenue cycle management. The downstream negative impact of using an unspecified code can touch everything from decision support to reimbursement, compliance, and reporting. In addition, unspecified codes are not as useful for other clinicians needing to review the records and for patients themselves as they review their own records.

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Topics: ICD-10, clinical documentation, PFT, reinburment, unspecified codes, revenue cycle management, provider friendly terminology, cdi, clinical codes

Unspecified Codes: Know Your Financial Exposure

Posted on 10/19/16 | Comments

Three Must-take Steps to Minimize Risk

On October 1, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) wrapped up its one-year grace period for allowing the use of unspecified codes without consequence. The governing body also rolled out its first update to the coding system in four years, including a mammoth 6,000 new codes.

Both of these moves could negatively impact financial performance if appropriate action is not taken to minimize risk. Providers still engaging in deficient “unspecified” coding practices face short-term revenue cycle exposure in the way of denied claims, increased accounts receivable days, and time-consuming workflows associated with drafting appeals. Over the long term, revenue risk is associated with lower value-based payments.

Specificity is now the name of the game, and HIM departments must educate teams to code at the highest level under ICD-10. With thousands of new codes in play, it’s imperative that healthcare organizations address this issue through three critical steps:

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Topics: ICD-10

What is Semantic Interoperability?

Posted on 10/12/16 | 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

Terminology Server on FHIR at HL7 Connectathon 13

Posted on 10/04/16 | Comments

Two weeks ago Health Language attended the HL7 FHIR Connectathon in Baltimore, Maryland.  An impressive 170 individuals were in attendance with 120 individuals participating in the actual Connectathon. This was a new HL7 Connectathon record! The objective of the event was to achieve the goals pre-established for each of the FHIR technology tracts.  The accomplishments of the different groups after the day and a half were outstanding.

We participated in the event with a FHIR Standard for Trial Use (STU) 3 conformant terminology server, which was able to meet the needs of many participants wanting to look up healthcare data by code or use a phrase to search healthcare terminology standards like ICD-10, SNOMED CT, LOINC and RxNorm.  Participants could also accomplish similar tasks with value sets available on our server from NCQA and VSAC.  Those sending requests to our FHIR server were still able to take full advantage of our proprietary synonyms, provider friendly terminology, and mappings between content sets, which demonstrated Health Languages market differentiation.

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Topics: interoperability, enterprise terminology management, FHIR

Is Your Patient Communication Getting Lost in Translation?

Posted on 09/28/16 | Comments

Three ways to increase patient engagement with consumer content.

Patients are demanding better insights and transparency into their care. They want to be empowered in their decision-making through better information about everything from diagnoses and care plans to quality ratings and cost.[i]

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Topics: patient engagement, Consumer Friendly Descriptions

New MACRA Measures Sharpen Focus on Semantic Interoperability

Posted on 09/21/16 | Comments

 

Healthcare’s interoperability quest continues to mature, moving the industry closer to semantic interoperability—the highest level of information exchange as defined by the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). ONC’s recent identification of two metrics to support specific indicators of “widespread interoperability” demonstrate this movement.

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Topics: semantic interoperability, MACRA

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.

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

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

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Topics: HL7, interoperability, FHIR

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.

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

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.

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Topics: Standard terminologies, RxNorm, data normalization