Clinical interface terminology: Healthcare’s Rosetta Stone

The discovery of the Rosetta Stone paved the way for a new understanding of Egyptian culture and language. So, what does this have to do with health IT? We’re glad you asked…
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As a medical coding company, we don’t often look to ancient history for inspiration. The creation and constant improvement of clinical interface terminology (CIT), however, is one notable exception. The following excerpt from the white paper, A different kind of Rosetta Stone: The pivotal role of clinical interface terminology in healthcare sets the stage.

“The need to input alphanumeric codes into the EHR to describe patient encounters, problems, and procedures was challenging from the start. For many clinicians the process was unnatural and foreign, adding both time and frustration to their daily work. At the time, it wasn’t uncommon to see physicians carrying around stacks of index cards bearing the frequently used codes they needed for documentation. And, with patients queued in the waiting room, the search for the most accurate code often ended with clinicians choosing one that was ‘good enough.’

It quickly became clear that a bridge was needed: a crosswalk to enable clinicians to “speak clinician” while using the EHR. Providers needed a tool that allowed them to document in detail and still get paid. They needed some sort of medical Rosetta Stone that could translate their everyday clinical language – essential for patient care and communication between providers – into standardized, administrative codes.”

Download the white paper for a quick primer on the Rosetta Stone, then keep reading for a closer look at the advent of CIT and how this technology lays the foundation for everything – from billing and reimbursement to interoperability and population health.

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