Medical mapping tool ready for test drive

Draft map covers 5,000 standardized clinical terms

The National Library of Medicine wants health care organizations and vendors to test drive its new mapping tool that seeks to link a standard medical vocabulary to support applications for electronic health records, officials have announced.

Standardized clinical terms, or data elements, are considered a necessity for broader use of digital medical records. The Obama administration currently is developing rulemaking for distributing more than $19 billion in payments to doctors and hospitals that buy and use digital record systems for patients.

The library released a draft mapping tool that links terms from the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine-Clinical Terms (SNOMED-CT) to the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9). The SNOMED-CT is the terminology used for clinical purposes, while the ICD-9 has terms used for billing and administrative support.

The draft has 5,000 mappings of the SNOMED-CT terms most often used by Kaiser Permanente and the University of Nebraska.The map was designed to support semi-automated administrative reporting and reimbursement for health care services.

The library wants users to “test drive”’ the map from Dec. 1 through Feb. 1, 2010, and to provide feedback to guide developing related maps. The related maps include mapping of SNOMED-CT to the ICD-Tenth revision, Clinical Modification and Procedure Coding System.

“We strongly encourage testing by people who intend to use the map for the billing use case,” Betsy Humphreys, deputy director of the national library, said in a news release Nov. 17.

The draft map was developed by SNOMED Terminology Solutions, a division of the College of American Pathologists, on behalf of the national library, as well as by the American Health Information Management Association Foundation, on behalf of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Center for Health Statistics completed a review and validation of the draft map.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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