February 26, 2013

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

By

Yakima, Washington – February 26, 2013 ---VitalWare has announced 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.

“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.”

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Disclaimer: Every reasonable effort was made to ensure the accuracy of this information at the time it was published. However, due to the nature of industry changes over time we cannot guarantee its validity after the year it was published.