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1/23/2013
»AMA to Add Molecular CPT Codes to NIH's Genetic Testing Registry

By Lori Solomon, Editor, DTTR

The National Institutes of Health’s Genetic Testing Registry (GTR) will now include the American Medical Association's (AMA) Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for molecular pathology tests. Under the agreement reached between the AMA and the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the codes will be used to enhance the infrastructure of the public database and expand reporting and tracking of genetic tests and services.

“CPT codes are a critical element to building an infrastructure that supports moving new genetic discoveries to the front lines of clinical care as we move into an era of personalized medicine,” said AMA president Jeremy Lazarus, M.D. “Adding a CPT coding reference to the GTR gives physicians an invaluable information source that will enhance the reporting of genetic tests and services.”

The AMA initiated use of more detailed CPT codes for molecular pathology last year, reflecting recent advances in clinical molecular testing. So far, the AMA says, there are more than 100 codes for molecular diagnostic services.

The GTR was created last year to provide a comprehensive public source for information about genetic tests. It is operated by the NLM's National Center for Biotechnology Information. The database is built through voluntary submission of test information by providers. Content includes the test's purpose, methodology, validity, evidence of the test's usefulness, and laboratory contacts and credentials.

Inclusion of the CPT codes further enhances the GTR's interoperability with electronic medical records and laboratory information management systems. Other codes and standards already integrated into GTR are: SNOMED CT (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine - Clinical Terms), an extensive clinical terminology and LOINC (Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes), which provides standardized terms and codes for identifying laboratory and clinical observations. CPT, SNOMED CT, and LOINC are standards required by the Department of Health and Human Services' certification of electronic health record products.
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