Chances are, whatever medical department you work in there are terminology standards with regularly scheduled updates. These updates can be yearly, quarterly and even monthly, and they require timely implementation in your systems for your data to remain up to date and correct. Here’s a handy guide to the common standards in the US, and their release schedule.
- ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS: Yearly releases with the effective date for the next version being October 1. The following CMS webpages are usually updated with the upcoming release in early August.
o ICD-10-CM: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Coding/ICD10/2020-ICD-10-CM.html
o ICD-10-PCS: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Coding/ICD10/2020-ICD-10-PCS.html
- CPT and HCPCS: Yearly releases with the effective date for the next version being January 1. HCPCS also have quarterly updates (see the sidebar on the webpage for HCPCS below); CPT occasionally have updates during the year too. Licensing from the AMA is required for CPT (see website below). HCPCS can be obtained from CMS.
o CPT: https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/cpt
o HCPCS: http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Coding/HCPCSReleaseCodeSets/Alpha-Numeric-HCPCS.htm
- LOINC: Semi-annual releases in June and December, usually the third week. Releases are assigned a version number; e.g., LOINC version 2.66 was released June 21, 2019. You’ll be given a no-cost license; register for a free account on the LOINC website and you can sign in to download LOINC files upon each release.
- SNOMED CT: Semi-annual releases on January 31 and July 31 for the International Edition; semi-annual releases on March 1 and September 1 for the US Edition. The US National Library of Medicine (NLM) licenses SNOMED CT for the entire country, but you’ll need to obtain a license for the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) Metathesaurus and set up an account (two-step process). See the website below for more information and follow the instructions.
- RxNorm: Monthly releases usually on the first of the month but can delay a week or so. RxNorm is included in UMLS so once you’ve obtained a UMLS license and set up an account, you can download both SNOMED CT and RxNorm. For more information on RxNorm, see the website below. Click on Terms of Service then UMLS License in the first paragraph of the new webpage it brings up if you want to go straight to licensing, and follow the instructions.