VSAC Value Set Authoring Tool Launches

Julia Skapik | November 7, 2013

The National Library of Medicine launched the Value Set Authority Center (VSAC) Authoring Tool on October 31, 2013. People can now apply for authoring and stewardship credentials and use new features that improve search, perform code validation, and provide added guidance for authors as part of the federal government’s ongoing efforts to improve the quality and utility of value sets and data elements.

Why create a new location for value set authoring?

In the past, value set authors created value sets by hand, using proprietary tools, or in the Measure Authoring Tool (MAT). There was no centralized source for curation and maintenance of value sets across programs and terminologies and no way to easily visualize all available content.

  1. Reiterating a big policy change that was made in the 2014 Edition final rule; and
  2. Providing some data and insights into comparisons between 2014 Edition and 2011 Edition certification numbers.

On October 25, 2012, the National Library of Medicine took on the role of acting as the authority for value sets related to the Meaningful Use EHR Incentive Program. Since then, NLM has continued to maintain and store subsequent versions of this value set content and anticipate expansion of the VSAC content to value sets external to the EHR Incentive Program. In addition, new features in the authoring tool ensure higher quality and more reusable value set content.

What will happen to the Measure Authoring Tool and its content after the launch of the authoring tool?

Starting October 24, 2013, authors have been asked not to use the Measure Authoring Tool to create value sets. The authoring and value set storage areas of the MAT will no longer be available after November 22, 2013, when the Measure Authoring Tool will be integrated with the Value Set Authority Center so that value set content, labeled by OID, will be pulled from the VSAC in real time as measure packages are created in the MAT.

Value set content that was created in the MAT before October 24, 2013 will be reviewed and moved into the VSAC Authoring Tool at the time of the MAT-VSAC Integration.

What are some of the additional benefits and features of the new VSAC Authoring Tool?

  • Author registration
  • Create, save and edit both extensional and grouping value sets
  • Search for and add valid codes to extensional value sets.
  • VSAC currently contains current codes from the following code systems:
    • Administrative Sets, CDCREC, CDT, CPT, CVX, Discharge Disposition, HCPCS, ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS, ICD-9-CM, LOINC, RxNorm, SNOMED CT®, SOP
  • Search for and add draft and published value sets to grouping value sets
  • Code validation (for example, does the entered code exist in the selected version of the selected code system?)
  • Authors may submit draft values set to stewards
  • Stewards may approve their assigned value sets and select publication dates

New features, such as checking for related or duplicate codes and value sets, automated updates, and further expansion of content are underway at NLM.

What material is available to guide authors and new users to create high quality value sets?

New training materials are currently under development and members of the VSAC listserv will receive notification when additional training sessions are scheduled.

The VSAC now also includes support documentation through the Authoring Guidance tab:

  • Best Practices for Authoring Value Sets
  • Author and Steward Roles
  • Authoring Workflow
  • External Links to Terminologies and to the U.S. SNOMED CT® Content Request System

How do I become an author in VSAC?

If you need to author or steward value sets, request permissions by following the “Author Registration” link in the right upper corner of the VSAC web page at https://vsac.nlm.nih.gov/. You will require a UMLS login, available here on the NLM website.

Please send any questions or feedback to:  http://www.nlm.nih.gov/research/umls/support.html