Health Language Blog

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.


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

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

Implications to Using Old and Outdated Codes

Posted on 05/18/16 | Comments

Many were relieved after the ICD-10 implementation deadline. But, though October 1st 2015 is now long past, it does not mean the end of dealing with healthcare terminologies and the complexities set into motion for healthcare providers and payers.  

As we all know, healthcare is a constantly changing industry. New medical breakthroughs as well as newly discovered diseases lead to new treatments and innovative solutions. All of these changes must be represented in evolving medical terminologies. Terminologies, standards for treatment and care, and scientific developments are rarely set in stone. Code systems and terminology sets may be updated daily. If you and your organization cannot keep up with all of the changes, your entire organization is at risk.  


Topics: ICD-10, terminology, enterprise terminology management

Capturing Both Context and Conditions in Family Health History

Posted on 03/20/13 | Comments

Recording a structured family health history is a menu requirement in Stage 2 of Meaningful Use, both for eligible providers* and eligible hospitals**. Both specifications require that the health history of first-degree relatives be recorded, and provide the choice of recording the history either in SNOMED CT or using the HL7 Pedigree standard. One of the key issues we’ve been working with clients on is how to capture both the context (which relative is being discussed) and the condition (medical issues associated with the relative).

The HL7 Pedigree standard provides very explicit directions on expressing context (using the Family Member Value Set). To express the condition, the Pedigree standard is flexible, allowing the use of a variety of terminologies (e.g. SNOMED CT, ICD-9-CM, ICD-10-CM) to capture the conditions that each relative has. Examples of the XML format for the HL7 Pedigree standard can be generated using the US Surgeon General website My Family Health Portrait.


Topics: SNOMED, HL7, Family health history, terminology