Smart Tags, ICD Coding – General Pondering

As usually happens when I am writing documents, my mind started wandering off on a tangent! One of the end points was the research pane in Office, which lead onto smart tags!

Ok, here’s the general ponderance; a large portion of my clients (by which I mean all) have at least Office 2000 installed, and the majority have Office 2003. I have noticed more and more just how much work is performed in the healthcare setting in Office, and how much more could be if IT or users were aware of the capabilities; case in point, there’s an Organisation Chart Wizard in Visio! Do people really need to dedicate a resource to actually creating Visio diagrams when they could easily create a Excel spreadsheet to hold the data and auto-generate the required diagrams?

That got me thinking about all the documents that are written in a healthcare setting using Word, and all the emails sent using Outlook. Medical coding is a pretty complex area where conditions are coded using a variety of systems (e.g. SNOMED and ICD-10). The systems are very verbose and detailed, and have a hierarchical nature; for example there is a relationship between heart failure and chest pains. So what if a smart tag system was developed to identify terminology in the documents as they are written, and insert the codes and formal names into the document? That could be pretty useful!

I figure the idea solution would separate out the coding vocabulary from the interpretation engine so multiple coding mechanisms could be selected by the end user. A well rounded engine would of course have use outside of coding, and could be used (I hope) outside of smart tags as well (e.g. the research pane)

A quick search of the web doesn’t show me anything particularly helpful, so I was wondering if anybody out there had experience in this area and/or a product or solution?


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