Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013
This Week's News
This Week's News
AMA, McKesson team up to bring clarity to molecular diagnostic testing
A new initiative announced Tuesday by the AMA and health care services and IT company McKesson will create a consistent and transparent way to identify and track the rapidly increasing number of molecular diagnostic tests across the health care industry.
Under a new licensing relationship, the two organizations will establish a comprehensive reference that maps McKesson's molecular diagnostic test identifiers, known as Z-Code™ Identifiers, against the corresponding molecular pathology codes in the AMA's Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) code set. The reference is intended to support innovations in advanced diagnostics.
"Greater clarity will bring health care stakeholders one step closer to the collaboration needed to assess these tests and to make the most informed test selection, coverage and payment decisions resulting in better business for providers and payers and better care for patients," Emad Rizk, MD, president of McKesson Health Solutions, said in a news release.
More than 3,000 molecular and genetic diagnostics are marketed today for clinical use, and the number is expected to multiply rapidly in the coming years. As the fastest growing sector of clinical pathology lab testing, molecular diagnostics revenue is expected to reach $6.2 billion by 2014, according to consulting firm Frost and Sullivan.
Although they hold great promise to influence the cost and quality of care by informing care decisions, the impact of molecular diagnostics has not been clearly articulated and quantified. The new reference product should enable greater analysis and understanding of this growing field.
"The McKesson Diagnostics Exchange provides an infrastructure that will support the AMA's efforts to advance personalized medicine, promote access to innovative diagnostic capabilities and improve patient outcomes," AMA CEO and Executive Vice President James L. Madara, MD, said.
"The added capabilities will complement the AMA's ongoing development and maintenance of a CPT code set for molecular diagnostic services and provide a valuable tool for physicians, hospitals, payers and the diagnostics industry that will help organize vital information about molecular diagnostic tests," he said.
The AMA has been involved with coding solutions for molecular pathology services since 1998. New CPT codes for these services became effective in 2012 to capture and describe the latest scientific advances. The ongoing process has created more than 100 codes for reporting innovative diagnostic services.