Health Language Blog

Central Cancer Registries: Ensuring the EHR Meets MU2 Requirements

Posted on 07/29/13 | Comments

The ability of public health organizations to efficiently track and monitor cancer cases via registries is critical to the national effort to reduce morbidity and mortality rates. That’s why, in 1992, Congress mandated that individual states establish central cancer registries (CCRs) to capture diagnostic, treatment and outcomes data for every cancer patient living in the U.S.

Hospitals have long submitted data to these registries, but today a growing number of cancer patients receive treatment outside of hospitals in ambulatory healthcare settings. As a result, Meaningful Use (MU) Stage 2 includes an objective that requires providers in ambulatory settings to identify and report cancer cases to state registries. The MU Stage 2 measure requires healthcare providers to consistently and successfully submit cancer data through a certified EHR to their state’s cancer registries for the entire EHR reporting period.

To attest to MU Stage 2 criteria for cancer registry reporting, the CDC’s Implementation Guide for Healthcare Provider Reporting to Central Cancer Registries recommends that a provider’s EHR be capable of:

  • Identifying reportable cancer cases;
  • Identifying the specific data elements to be retrieved and included in the cancer event report;
  • Creating a valid HL7 CDA R2 cancer event report; and
  • Transmitting the cancer event report securely to a CCR electronically


Topics: Meaningful use, Meaningful Use (MU) Stage 2, MU Stage 2, EHR Technology, LOINC & SNOMED, Cancer Registries, EHR, MU2 requirements

2013 Terminology Trend Watch: A Mid-Year Update

Posted on 06/12/13 | Comments

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). 


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

Three Considerations When Mapping Your Lab Catalogue

Posted on 06/03/13 | Comments

Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC®) has been named as a standard in both Stage One and Stage Two Meaningful Use.  Earlier posts have discussed the utility and importance of LOINC as a standard.  LOINC has been used sporadically by some organizations, but full use of LOINC is coming into its own. 

As with the journey of a thousand miles, taking that first step on the catalog mapping project is truly the hardest part. To make your journey a bit easier, here are three first steps to consider: 

  • Do you understand LOINC?
  • Do you understand data?
  • What are the right resources and tools to use?
1.     Understanding LOINC


Topics: Meaningful use, LOINC, Meaningful use stage 2, Meaningful use requirements, Coding Challenges, lab cataloguing

Understanding HL7 and its Fit with Meaningful Use

Posted on 03/01/13 | Comments


While Meaningful Use is on everyone’s mind, semantic interoperability may be an unfamiliar concept. Semantic interoperability, medical vocabulary, Meaningful Use, LOINC ®, and HL7 might seem even more of an alphabet soup.  How do all these pieces fit together and how does it help my organization?

Healthcare is complex. The ability to exchange diverse clinical information generated during delivery of healthcare is essential to ensuring continuity of care and patient safety.  Electronic exchange of information can occur

  • between providers
  • between providers and patients
  • between organizations
  • between care settings


Topics: Meaningful use, Medical vocabulary, LOINC, HL7, Healthcare interoperability

National Library of Medicine and Meaningful Use

Posted on 02/21/13 | Comments

Meaningful Use and the impending ICD-10 implementation is all the buzz!  Understanding terminology management for SNOMED-CT, ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM/PCS leaves many folks with their heads spinning.  What does this all mean?  Is there a one stop shopping to help me (save me)?  The good news is that there are resources available. The not so good news is that availability does not necessarily equal ease of use.


Topics: Meaningful use, ICD-10, Standard terminologies, Medical vocabulary

How a Terminology Platform Can Support an EHR

Posted on 02/05/13 | Comments

Vocabulary standards are playing a key force in enabling interoperability of patient data. Meaningful Use may be accomplishing what hasn’t happened before – a set of rules everyone will follow to allow patient data to flow between EHR systems, delivery networks and regional organizations.  Whether the vocabulary standard is a classification system, terminology, controlled vocabulary, or nomenclature, a terminology server can provide a range of services to use and manage these complex entities. 

Vocabularies named to achieve Meaningful Use have been thought of as fairly fixed and simple entities needing little care and feeding. As organizations begin to implement these vocabularies, the complexities of the concepts and relationships become apparent. 


Topics: Meaningful use, clinical documentation, Analytics

SNOMED: What it is and Why it was Added to Stage 2 Meaningful Use

Posted on 01/25/13 | Comments

For many years providers have been doing a good job of summarizing their patients’ current and relevant medical conditions on a “problem list”.  Typically this list is located within the first page of a patient’s chart, ideally enabling the medical provider to quickly assess the current and past medical issues of the patient.  While the intent is clear, the methodology is not – many providers still using paper charts may use acronyms to express a clinical condition (e.g. MS or AA) or they may not add the date of the diagnosis and/or its resolution.  For those providers who utilize EMRs (electronic medical records) the problem may be more complex due to the lack of interoperability between different EMR systems. 


Topics: Meaningful use, SNOMED, clinical documentation

The Significance of Normalizing Your Data to the Future of Healthcare

Posted on 01/24/13 | Comments

On January 10, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the formation of 106 new Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), bringing the grand total to more than 250 ACOs. Comprised of physicians, hospitals and health systems, each of these ACOs must be able to exchange data on the designated population of Medicare patients included in the CMS program. What’s more, they need to be able to analyze the data to determine if they are meeting 33 distinct quality measures concerning care coordination, patient safety, preventive health services, at-risk populations, and patient/caregiver experience of care.

However, if the stakeholders in these ACOs aren’t all sharing and analyzing data that uses the same data terminologies, their success could be impacted. This is where data “normalization” comes in. It can greatly improve operational efficiencies and patient outcomes not just for ACOs, but for all healthcare providers and payers nationwide.


Topics: Meaningful use, ICD-10, HIE, Coding Challenges, Data Warehousing

Top Three Terminology Trends to Watch For in 2013

Posted on 01/22/13 | Comments

With the recent presidential election behind us, 2013 promises to be a significant year for the healthcare industry. As the industry moves away from fee-for-service care and closer to value-based care, terminology management will be crucial for organizations to achieve compliance with industry regulations.


Topics: Meaningful use, ICD-10, HCCs