Many of the primary healthcare terminologies key to data analysis saw some major changes in 2022. In this article, we take a look at three of the most impactful updates released from the standards bodies this past year.
2022 was yet another rollercoaster year in the healthcare industry. To keep up, health plans and providers are relying more on data to fuel important initiatives around population health and value-based care, but many of the primary healthcare terminologies key to that data analysis saw some major changes this year. Let’s take a look at three of the most impactful updates released from the standards bodies in 2022.
In June of 2022, the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics release included 1468 new ICD-10-CM concepts for the 2023 fiscal year, effective October 1, 2022. Major differences were incorporated for the conditions of dementia, endometriosis, maternal care for fetal disorders, and head injuries, as well as motorcycle and e-bike accidents. Due to this extraordinarily large publication, Health Language added 3,000 new ICD-10-CM to SNOMED CT maps, 1200 new attributes, 2000 refinements and prompts, 836 consumer-friendly descriptions, and 15,000 new provider-friendly terms to ensure that these new codes were available on October 1, 2022 for our clients. Clearly our team was busy, how did your organization handle the large update this year?
2. SNOMED CT
In February 2022, SNOMED CT changed their release cycle for the International Edition from every six months, to monthly. While many expected the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to follow suit and adopt to a new monthly cycle, they did not. Instead, the NLM landed on a release cycle that is now two months out of sync with the international release, where previously, they were one month out of synch. Confused yet? Join the club! Health Language decided to follow the guidance given by the NLM to remain on a six-month update cycle, and we recommend that all US entities do the same. We have and continue to work alongside our clients to help ensure they understand the impact of the new release cycle.
We also continue to curate synonyms that providers ask for most, adding over 1600 new provider-friendly terms (PFTs) to the most used concepts in this already synonym-rich ontology.
3. Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)
As usual with Current Procedural Terminology® (CPT), The American Medical Association released quarterly files along with several interim updates that needed to be teased out of transmittals. For fiscal year 2022, Health Language released 15 versions of CPT to capture the information in those transmittals. We are currently on Version 5 for fiscal year 2023. This remains one of the most challenging code sets to keep up to date with, especially given our reality of new disease states like COVID-19 and mpox (formerly monkeypox).
The bulk of the 2023 CPT update includes changes to Evaluation and Management (E/M) codes, with the intention of alleviating the administrative burden placed on physicians to document patient encounters.
To support our clients, the Health Language content team will be focusing on updating our CPT to LOINC, CPT to ICD-10-PCS, and Revenue Code crosswalk files based on these updates.
The importance of maintaining and mapping healthcare terminologies
With so many changes happening, keeping systems up to date is a constant challenge for healthcare systems, health plans, and the HIT vendors who support the healthcare ecosystem.
The Health Language team at Wolters Kluwer consistently identifies, organizes, and/or maps lab tests and results in SNOMED-CT and LOINC, medication classes, brand names, and ingredients in RxNorm and CVX, allergens and allergies in SNOMED-CT, mental health conditions in DSM-5, ICD-10-CM and SNOMED-CT, and procedures in CPT, ICD-10-PCS, and HCPCS Level II. This work is essential in helping organizations make sense of the disparate data they have within their organization in order to uncover population and patient-level insights and enable semantic interoperability.
The expert terminology team members at Health Language focus on the following to support our clients:
- Create new relationships between billing codes like ICD-10-CM and clinical concepts found in health care terminologies like SNOMED CT so that our clients can take advantage of them in an efficient way in order to maximize reimbursement, and create the link between claims and clinical data to accelerate insights
- Update and maintain coding attributes and refinements to enable healthcare and allied professionals to easily search for, retrieve, and document conditions, tests, procedures, labs, and medications in the electronic health record (EHR) to ensure for point of care documentation accuracy
- Author consumer-friendly terms for key terminologies so that non-clinical individuals can easily understand the what’s on a patient portal, in a patient bill, or outlined in an explanation of benefits (EOB).
- Recognize and assemble codes from multiple terminologies that may represent sensitive patient information, in order to ensure it is appropriately suppressed when being shared or transferred.
- Identify and compile social determinants of health (SDoH) codes to help clients analyze and mitigate patient morbidity and mortality risks, and assist providers in making intelligent care and treatment decisions for patients to positively influence health outcomes
Above all, our ultimate goal is to help healthcare stakeholders improve the health and wellbeing of their patients. It becomes a perk that we’re also able to reduce skyrocketing administrative costs, modulate healthcare fraud and abuse, and decrease overall health care expenditures.
We will continue to work hard every day to ensure our clients have the highest quality data at their fingertips when they need it most. If your organization could use support maintaining healthcare terminologies, please reach out. We’d love to help!