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VitalWare Introduces Sherpa, a New Physician Documentation Ontology Engine for Complete Documentation and Coding Accuracy

Sherpa's Concept-Based Ontology Approach Offers an Alternative to Simple Mapping, Word-Based Approaches

YAKIMA, WA -- (Marketwire) -- 02/25/13 -- VitalWare™, the leader in business intelligence for ICD-10 and beyond, announces today the filing of a provisional patent for Sherpa, a proprietary, Physician Documentation Ontology™ (PDO) engine. Sherpa automatically presents clinical concepts and their related categories to the physician during a patient encounter, addressing gaps in today's documentation practices and guiding clinicians to more complete documentation for coding accuracy.

Until now, technology solutions have focused on basic mapping or crosswalk approaches that simply try to link an existing ICD-9 code to the new ICD-10 code. Unfortunately, ICD-10 not only represents thousands more codes, but it also introduces new and sometimes required concepts, that lead to entirely new diagnoses and/or procedures.

"Trying to map or link two vastly different coding systems is like putting a band-aid on an amputation," said Kerry Martin, CEO and Founder of VitalWare. "We've designed an entirely new approach that presents physicians with clinical concept prompts that guide to more complete documentation, and ultimately more accurate code assignment."

Sherpa does not force clinicians to learn a new coding language or field significantly more queries from documentation teams or coders. According to Martin, "The goal from the inception has been to bridge the gap between what the clinician says or documents and what is necessary for the coders to code and bill accurately. Additionally, mapping ICD-9 to ICD-10 doesn't address the incomplete documentation that happens in the first place."

How Sherpa Differs

Sherpa groups the concepts of medical documentation into clinically relevant "concept categories," highlights required concepts, facilitates the hundreds of thousands of alias terminologies used by clinicians, and then presents them during the patient encounter. Once all of the appropriate concepts have been addressed by the physician for a particular condition, sufficient documentation exists for complete coding and billing in ICD-10.

Clinical Example: For a Clavicle Fracture, the new ICD-10 code set requires clinicians to document five more pieces of information (Severity, Anatomic Position, Laterality, Episode of Care and Healing Status) than previously required under ICD-9. VitalWare's Sherpa engine automatically presents all concept categories that capture the added complexity required by ICD-10 for a Clavicle Fracture, as well as any other condition that needs to be documented. Find more on this example here.

"The Sherpa PDO engine integrates easily into existing EMRs and EHRs through a consumable web service or database system. Sherpa assists hospitals in targeting physician, coder and clinician training by providing specialty and focused approaches based on individual ICD-10 training requirements," said Martin. "Sherpa allows hospitals to take a giant leap forward in addressing documentation requirements by ensuring clinician documentation and the coded representation of that documentation are in alignment."

For information on Sherpa, the physician documentation ontology (PDO) engine, view the product fact sheet.

About VitalWare
VitalWare leads the market in transforming healthcare intelligence into useful and actionable information, thereby allowing their clients to focus their time and resources on core business. Headquartered in Washington State, VitalWare was established to help organizations with the overwhelming task of navigating the many regulatory changes taking place in today's healthcare environment. For more information visit www.vitalware.com, email [email protected], or call 855.464.2310.

For more information, contact:
Leslee Paganelli
Email Contact
(855) 464-2310 ext 650

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