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AMA Launches Mobile App and Challenge

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, March 30, 2011

The American Medical Association is making its first foray into the software development world with a free CPT (current procedural terminology) code glossary application.

So far, the app includes just 129 codes classified for evaluation and management, for consultations, critical care services, domiciliary, ED, home services, hospital inpatient, hospital observation, inpatient neonatal, newborn care, non face-to-face, nursing facility, preventive medicine, and prolonged services. But it has detailed descriptions of each code's levels of care. More codes are planned in updates.

For example, for office or other outpatient visit, one can find definitions for whether the patient visit was problem-focused, expanded problem focused, detailed, or comprehensive. Decision-tree logic and quick search options are available. And users may save frequently accessed codes by location or type of service

But the AMA wants to go beyond this single app and is offering $2,500  in cash and prizes, plus a trip to the AMA's meeting in New Orleans, for ideas to generate "the next great medical app, in the 2011 AMA App Challenge." 

"The AMA's new CPT quick reference app helps physicians determine the appropriate E/M code for billing quickly, easily and accurately," said AMA Board Secretary Steven J. Stack, MD. "To find the next great medical app idea we are going right to the source by inviting physicians, residents and medical students to participate in the first-ever AMA App Challenge."

"Quick access to accurate information physicians use daily was the goal behind creating the CPT app," said Dr. Stack. "We are eager to discover which other medical apps physicians, residents, and medical students would find useful through their App Challenge idea submissions, and we are thrilled to be able to bring two of the best ideas to the physician community."

The AMA's CPT code app is available through the iTunes store, and works on the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad.

There are other more comprehensive smartphone CPT code apps. But, the AMA emphasizes, this one is theirs, and it's free.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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