All medical offices and hospitals are familiar with the current ICD 9 Codes used for diagnosing patient conditions and illnesses and hopefully some standards for mapping the coding over to SNOMED will improve and come along, it is work in progress.  2015 is the target year for all healthcare providers to be using SNOMED codes with patient records.  This means a lot of changes in many areas and outside of just the EHR too.  image

The University of Pittsburgh is finding out how complicated this is becoming.  SNOMED is international, so it fits with having the same diagnosis all over the world.  This is somewhat amusing when looking at how some of the data they worked with from 3 different EHR systems worked, men that smoked while pregnant, so we all know this is an error. 

As mentioned below, we have the new ICD-10 Codes coming that need to be mapped too, so this is one more growing area of HIE that needs to integrate to ensure accuracy and in the long run, getting paid.  SNOMED codes are far more specific and numerous as well.  BD 

If you think getting standard medical terminology hardwired into EHR systems is simple, just ask the hundreds of Pennsylvania men whose patient records indicated they smoked while pregnant.

Those patients, served by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), got caught in a quandary of words because of the vagaries of insurance coding and the different vocabularies used in five separate EHR installations (three from Cerner Corp., one from Allscripts-Misys Healthcare Solutions Inc. and one from Epic Systems Corp.).

The health system is on the vanguard of a national movement, because adoption of SNOMED CT is required of all health care providers by 2015 in order to qualify for meaningful use certification. Currently, most providers use the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM), which providers will retire in favor of the next revision, ICD-10-CM, in October 2013.

Fixing the coding for the male patients smoking while pregnant was one of the many problems Hogan and Konicek addressed during the mapping process. They shared their experiences in a presentation on SNOMED CT implementation at the HIMSS10 annual conference earlier this month.

So how are they going to get the lists mapped to ICD-10-CM via SNOMED CT terminology? Watch the National Library of Medicine and the American Health Information Management Association, which are working on mapping projects. Also, some benevolent private health care systems may step up to the plate and share their maps, too.

SNOMED CT will be coming to EHR systems and patient records near you


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