Terminology mapping key to effectively managing patient information

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Clinical terminology mapping is essential for creating an effective national health information infrastructure, according to Simon Cohn, MD, MPH, chair of the National Committee for Vital and Health Statistics and associate executive director of Kaiser Permanente. Mapping between terminologies will help to reduce the high cost of administrative overhead and billing, make data readily available for comparison to national and international benchmarks, and accelerate the adoption of electronic records and the adoption of patient medical record information standards.

Mapping will play an important role as organizations deal with legacy data. Almost all healthcare organizations will have to employ maps to continue to access and use their legacy data into the future, Cohn said.

To move terminology mapping forward, the technical trade track, led by Jim Campbell, MD, of the University of Nebraska, agreed that it must be understandable-have a stated purpose and audience, be complete, clean and unambiguous, define the source and target domain scope for the map; be reproducible-employ authoritative reference sources uniformly, have documentation that defines all assumptions, heuristics, and procedures required to manage context and create the map, a standard for the EHR static information model is developed and employed in mapping procedures; and be useful.