Meaningful Use Vocabulary Standard Guidance

The Nov/Dec “ARRA on the Job” column “Understanding the Meaningful Use Vocabulary Standards” provides an introduction to the vocabulary standard requirements adopted in the meaningful use program. Organizations and practitioners looking for more guidance on these standards in order to qualify for stage 1 of the meaningful use program should review the “Meaningful Use Vocabulary Toolkit,” from which the article is excerpted.

The toolkit provides background on the meaningful use stages, the implementation issues to consider for the vocabulary standards, and HIM opportunities to help implement the correct standards for the meaningful use program. It also includes three appendixes. Appendix A is a spreadsheet that lists:

  • Each standard in the program
  • The standard’s definition and function
  • The standards development organization responsible for maintaining each standard
  • The Web site for the standard
  • The release schedule
  • The standard’s purpose for stage 1
  • How to obtain the standard
  • License requirements
  • An example of value with a sample definition

Appendix B outlines the considerations organizations should use when making an informed decision for which vocabulary standards will best serve their needs. Appendix C offers a sample job description for a clinical vocabulary manager/terminology asset manager.

The vocabulary standards adopted in the meaningful use final rule provide the language to capture primary health data required for the meaningful use objectives. It is through these standards that health information will be captured and transmitted.

Organizations and practitioners must understand these standards and the rationale for using them for not only stage 1 but for the stages that follow.

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