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McKesson, AMA Developing Reference Product for MDx

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The American Medical Association and McKesson announced a licensing deal today to create a reference product for identifying and tracking molecular diagnostic tests.

The deal calls for McKesson Z-Code Identifiers to be grouped and indexed with corresponding molecular pathology codes in the AMA's Current Procedural Terminology code set. With the resulting reference product, "the healthcare industry can better understand the growth in this area to support advanced diagnostics innovation," AMA and McKesson said.

McKesson created the McKesson Diagnostics Exchange in 2011 as a software-as-a-service catalog and shared workflow solution so that laboratories and diagnostic manufacturers can submit information about molecular diagnostics they were developing, and so that physicians and payors can evaluate them. The Exchange issues a unique Z-code identifier for each test and then catalogs it.

Under today's agreement, the new reference product will map Z-Code Identifiers to CPT codes. The partners noted that not all Z-Code Identifiers will immediately map to a CPT code, and multiple Z-Code Identifiers may map to a single CPT code.

AMA and McKesson said the new product will be available for licensing from AMA in early 2014.

"CPT is a foundational component of healthcare, a shared terminology that physicians, hospitals and payers use to report and reimburse for services delivered to patients," McKesson Health Solutions Vice President of decision management Matthew Zubiller said in a statement. "With MDx tests growing so quickly, understanding their clinical and financial impact across the healthcare system is challenging. Identifying new tests as they evolve is critical to support smarter and more informed care decisions to address the quality and cost of care."

"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," James Madara, AMA CEO and executive VP, 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 MDx tests."

Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.