Three key updates to health terminologies in 2022

Many of the primary healthcare terminologies key to data analytics have seen some big changes in 2022. In this article, we’ll look at three of the most impactful updates released by standards bodies in the past year.

2022 was another rollercoaster year in the healthcare industry. To keep up, health plans and providers are relying more on data to fuel important population health initiatives and value-based care, but many of the primary care terminologies that are key to this data analysis have undergone some major changes this year. Let’s take a look at three of the most impactful updates released by standards bodies in 2022.

1. ICD-10-CM

The June 2022 edition of CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics included 1,468 new ICD-10-CM concepts for fiscal year 2023, effective October 1, 2022. Major differences were included for the conditions of dementia, endometriosis, care maternal fetal disorders and head injuries, as well as motorcycle and e-bike accidents. Thanks to this massive publication, Health Language has added 3,000 new ICD-10-CMs to SNOMED CT charts, 1,200 new attributes, 2,000 clarifications and prompts, 836 user-friendly descriptions, and 15,000 new provider-friendly terms to ensure that these new codes were available on October 1, 2022 for our customers. Obviously our team has been busy, how did your organization handle the big update this year?

2. SNOMED CT

In February 2022, SNOMED CT changed its release cycle for the International Edition from every six months to monthly. Although many expected the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to follow suit and adopt a new monthly cycle, they did not. Instead, NLM has landed on a release cycle that is now two months out of sync with international release, where they were previously one month out of sync. Are you still confused? Join the club! Health Language has decided to follow the guidelines 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 customers to ensure they understand the impact of the new release cycle.

We also continue to curate synonyms that providers want the most, adding over 1,600 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 publishes quarterly files along with several interim updates that should have been pulled from the broadcasts. For fiscal year 2022, Health Language released 15 versions of the CPT to capture the information in these shows. We are currently in version 5 for fiscal year 2023. This remains one of the most challenging code sets to keep up with, especially given our reality of new disease states like COVID-19 and mpox (formerly monkeypox).

Most of the 2023 CPT update includes changes to evaluation and management (E/M) codes with the intent of easing the administrative burden on physicians to document patient encounters.

To support our customers, the Health Language content team will focus 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 health terminologies

With so much change happening, keeping systems up-to-date is a constant challenge for health systems, health plans, and the HIT providers that support the healthcare ecosystem.

The Health Language team at Wolters Kluwer consistently identifies, organizes and/or maps laboratory tests and results in SNOMED-CT and LOINC, drug 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 to helping organizations make sense of the disparate data they have across their organization to uncover patient- and population-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 such as ICD-10-CM and clinical concepts found in healthcare terminologies such as SNOMED CT so that our clients can leverage them in an efficient manner to maximize recovery and create a link between claims and clinical data to accelerate insights
  • Update and maintain encoding attributes and refinements to enable healthcare and allied professionals to easily search, retrieve and document conditions, tests, procedures, laboratories and medications in the electronic health record (EHR) to ensure documentation accuracy at the point of care
  • User-friendly copyright terms for key terminologies so that non-clinicians can easily understand what is in the patient portal, on the patient’s bill or outlined in an explanation of benefits (EOB).
  • Code recognition and assembly of multiple terminologies that may represent sensitive patient information to ensure that it is appropriately suppressed when shared or transferred.
  • Identify and compile Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) codes. help customers analyze and reduce patient morbidity and mortality risks and help providers make intelligent patient care and treatment decisions to positively impact health outcomes

Above all, our ultimate goal is to help healthcare stakeholders improve the health and well-being of their patients. It becomes a privilege that we are also able to reduce skyrocketing administrative costs, modulate health care fraud and abuse, and reduce overall health care costs.

We will continue to work hard every day to ensure our customers have the highest quality data at their fingertips when they need it most. If your organization could use support in maintaining health terminology, please contact us. We’d be happy to help!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *