The following press release appeared a few days ago.
Kaiser Permanente Opens Access to Internal Medical Terminology to Help Others Meet U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Goals for Better Use of Health Information Technology
Convergent Medical Terminology Tools Allow Clinicians to Use Familiar Language to Achieve Standard Electronic Health Information Exchange
OAKLAND, Calif., Sept. 29
OAKLAND, Calif., Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente today announced it is donating its Convergent Medical Terminology (CMT) to the International Healthcare Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO©) for U.S. distribution through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) so that all health care providers—large and small—can benefit from the translation-enabling technology.
This donation makes the results of years of work at Kaiser Permanente available to help U.S. health professionals and hospitals achieve key meaningful use standards set forth by the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Kaiser Permanente is a pioneer in supporting the production of structured health data by creating and linking clinician- and patient-friendly terminology to the health data standards now required for U.S.-wide use. The Convergent Medical Terminology has been developed by clinicians and technologists over many years. It is in active use to document thousands of patient encounters every day. Kaiser Permanente's Convergent Medical Terminology will now be available for use by a wide range of health IT developers and users to speed implementation of electronic health record systems. This will support efficient patient care, as well as the production and export of standardized data needed to support quality assessment, decision support, exchange of data for patients with multiple health care providers, and public health surveillance.
"One of the key challenges to achieving a coherent health record for every U.S. consumer is the need for consistent data across all systems and institutions," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "This donation of the Convergent Medical Terminology from Kaiser Permanente addresses that critical need by making it easier for health professionals and patients to create standardized data in electronic health records. It can help physicians provide better evidence-based care, while directly supporting the administration's investment in bringing information technology to health care."
Kaiser Permanente's donation, which is being provided at no charge, consists of terminology content they have already developed, a set of tools to help create and manage terminology, and processes to control the quality of terminology that is developed. CMT also includes mappings to classifications and standard vocabularies, such as the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine – Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT©) already accepted by U.S. and international health policy makers. In addition to being of immediate value to EHR developers and users, these resources will assist the distributed enhancement of standard vocabularies, such as SNOMED CT, to better meet U.S. and international needs. Kaiser Permanente has agreed to work with the IHTSDO, the owner of SNOMED CT, and its U.S. Member, the National Library of Medicine, to help make an internationally distributed network of terminology development a reality.
"Better data is critical for better health. That is why physicians, nurses, and pharmacists worked together with technology specialists to develop CMT," said Jack Cochran, MD, Executive Director of The Permanente Federation. "Modern medicine is very complex and information about a single patient can be reported in different ways by different doctors who are treating different conditions for the same patient. Utilizing a common terminology that translates complex medical concepts into language that is both clinician- and patient-friendly has helped us coordinate teams, improve the quality of care for our patients and enhance efficiency in our organization. We would like to share the tool we developed with the country."
"CMT is designed to be seamless so clinicians see the familiar clinical language on their monitors while other users can see a simpler, translated version," said Phil Fasano, Chief Information Officer, Kaiser Permanente. "The development and implementation of this terminology system was a strategic investment as part of our commitment to improve health care, and we are pleased to share it with providers across the country so that they and their patients can benefit from it as well."
CMT is used in the underlying architecture of Kaiser Permanente's HIT systems to support data flow between health care providers. It provides mapping to standardize the use of terminology and ensure systems, some already in use in most U.S. medical offices, can talk to each other effectively. The utilization of CMT will support a common set of medical concept descriptions so that one doctor's diagnosis can be reconciled with another's. CMT includes the key taxonomies required for stage one of the Meaningful Use program such as problem list sets in SNOMED CT. Thus, it can help clinicians map to the standards set forth by the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services
"A primary focus of this administration is the transformation of the quality of health care while reducing costs," said U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra. "A core enabler for that transformation is the ability to study health outcomes across many institutions on a large scale with electronic health records and the best technology available. This contribution from Kaiser Permanente takes us several steps closer to realizing that goal and improving the quality of care for all our citizens."
CMT is a core component of Kaiser Permanente's comprehensive electronic health record, KP HealthConnect®, helping physicians communicate with their patients more clearly. KP HealthConnect is the world's largest private electronic health record, connecting more than 8.6 million people to their physicians, nurses, and pharmacists, personal information, and the latest medical knowledge.
CMT is also utilized by Kaiser Permanente's personal health record, My Health Manager, on kp.org so that patients can get a better understanding of their medical care. My Health Manager provides patients with secure, timely access to their lab test results, medication information and refill capabilities, summaries of their health conditions, and other important health information at just the click of a mouse. The technology empowers patients to manage their health by allowing them to access health information and tools and securely e-mail their doctor.
To watch a video of Stephen Ondra, MD, senior policy adviser on health affairs for the VA, and John Mattison, MD, chief medical information officer, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, talk about this announcement, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIgKCcBhXjQ
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 8.6 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.
This seems to be pretty big news with coverage here:
Posted: September 28, 2010 - 11:15 am ET
Kaiser Permanente announced plans to donate its systemwide terminology system, known as Convergent Medical Terminology, for open access in an effort to ease providers' transition to electronic health records, according to joint news release from HHS and the Oakland, Calif.-based integrated health plan.
Kaiser operates the largest private-sector EHR in the world and uses CMT as an interoperable source for clinical definitions, billing codes and language.
CMT uses several components, including the Systemized Nomenclature of Medicine-Clinical Terms, or SNOMED-CT, and the Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes, or LOINC, a database created to facilitate the movement of clinical laboratory information.
Integrating the Convergent Medical Terminology into clinical information systems could help make the meaningful use of e-health records easier and faster for U.S. healthcare providers.
By Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, InformationWeek
Sept. 30, 2010
Kaiser Permanente spent about 16 years and millions of dollars developing its Convergent Medical Terminology for its own use. But now the healthcare provider is donating the CMT to the global health community -- a dictionary of 75,000 medical terms and concepts for interoperable use among electronic health records.
The open availability of vendors, healthcare providers and others to integrate KP’s CMT in its clinical information systems, including e-health records, can make it easier for clinicians to communicate with each other, as well as with patients.
KP decided to donate its CMT to the International Healthcare Terminology Standards Development Organization (IHTSDO) for distribution in the U.S. by IHTSDO members and the National Library of Medicine, to help other U.S. healthcare providers meaningfully use health IT, KP officials said.
“Every vendor needs to find a way to take standards medical terminology and translate it” so that terms and concepts used in the electronic medical records of patients are understood by clinicians and patients, said Dr. David Blumenthal, national coordinator of health IT during a U.S. Health and Human Services Dept. press conference in Washington D.C. where KP announced the CMT donation.
The donation of CMT by KP for use by others will allow vendors and providers to implement common medical terminology content into new and existing e-health records faster and more easily than developing their own translation solutions, Blumenthal said.
KP’s CMT donation also includes a set of tools to help create and manage terminology, and processes to control the quality of terminology that is developed or added in the future. CMT also includes mappings to other classifications and standard vocabularies, such as the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine Clinical Terms, or SNOMED CT. Also, CMT can link to standard codes, such as ICD-9 and ICD-10, used in medical claims documents.
CMT is used by about 15,000 clinicians at KP hospitals and other care facilities in the U.S. as it “sits inside” KP HealthConnect, which is KP’s EHR system, said KP senior VP and CIO Phil Fasano in an interview with InformationWeek.
KP HealthConnect, based on software from Epic, is the nation’s largest private deployment of an EHR system in the U.S. Only the VA has a larger EHR system in use in the U.S.
CMT was created with collaboration among more than 1,000 KP clinicians -- including doctors, nurses and pharmacists -- as well as technologists over the last 16 years, said Fasano, who estimated that KP spent “many millions of dollars” to develop the technology.
More at site
As well as here:
By Mary Mosquera
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The Health & Human Services Department will make available to vendors and providers starting in early November software developed by Kaiser Permanente that translates physicians’ use of diagnostic and other medical terms into standard data formats that can be shared via electronic health record systems.
Kaiser Permanente has made the technology, called Convergent Medical Terminology (CMT) available at no cost. CMT automatically translates “clinician and patient friendly” terms into standard data, making it easier for providers to move from paper to electronic health records (EHRs) systems.
Dr. David Blumenthal, the national coordinator for health IT, said at a briefing Sept. 29 that the move would foster the use of consistent data formats across systems and institutions.
Blumenthal said that Kaiser’s donation addresses, “not only a technical issue but a human issue, which is the difficulty in understanding all this complicated terminology that we use in medicine so that people in their daily work can use it.”
The CMT software solves a problem that every doctor faces every day, he added. “We want our patients to have information about what we’re doing, but we don’t want the medical terminology to be misunderstood, not understood at all, or alarming if unnecessary,” Blumenthal said, adding, “It’s like a continuous translation between different languages.”
In am sure all sorts of parts of this work are very America centric but it seems to me there may be a range of ideas that KP have developed to integrate both terminology and coding into an advanced HER system.
It sure would not hurt to ask KP if there were ways Australia could possibly learn and profit from their work. It seems clear the US Government is pretty chuffed by this gift! There are also tools etc. that might even also help here.