How normalization can support the data quality of meds and labs

Standardizing meds and labs data can benefit both your organization and healthcare as a whole – but the task can be challenging.
healthcare data standardization

The advent of the electronic health record (EHR), opened up the possibility of using patient-level medication and laboratory data in new ways.

Such information could not only improve patient care, but also help drive clinical research, inform public health policy, and ultimately progress the field of healthcare.

Yet due to challenges inherent in standardizing labs and meds data, realizing this potential remains elusive.

In our latest white paper, Labs, meds, and data quality: Taming complexity through normalization, we outline some of the current challenges organizations are facing when it comes to capturing, sharing, and using medication and laboratory data. Additionally, we explore how terminology-driven data normalization can help unlock this information’s potential for downstream use cases.

Or, continue reading for an excerpt from the white paper that introduces the role that standardized clinical terminologies play in meds and labs data.

Maintaining semantic interoperability – or ensuring a clinical term and standardized code preserve the meaning of patient information when it is transferred between systems – is challenging when it comes to highly detailed concepts like labs and meds. That’s because a standardized code has to convey more than just a test’s name. It must also communicate many more specific pieces of information – such as dosage or unit of measurement – in a way that makes sense and can be made machine computable.

To this end, two systems – LOINC® and RxNORM® – are freely available and preferred by the federal government for preserving semantic interoperability with labs and meds. However, they are still less widely used by providers compared to systems like CPT®, ICD-10-CM and SNOMED CT®.

But these code systems aren’t without inherent problems.

Without universal adoption, much of medication and lab data in the EHR goes uncoded – making it extremely difficult to extract from the EHR, aggregate, or use for meaningful secondary purposes.

To read the full white paper, click here.

CPT is a registered trademark of the American Medical Association. All rights reserved.

RxNorm® is a registered trademark of the National Library of Medicine.

SNOMED and SNOMED CT are registered trademarks of SNOMED International.

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