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ADA council creates taskforce to enhance CDT

Review aims to serve current, evolving documentation and reporting needs of all sectors of dental community

August 26, 2021

By David Burger

The ADA Council on Dental Benefits Programs is proceeding with a new project to review and enhance the Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature (CDT Code) so that this ADA code set serves current and evolving needs for robust patient records and accurate claim submissions.

The first council action taken to fulfill these objectives is the creation of the Enhanced CDT Code Taskforce, comprising subject matter experts who serve as the council’s advisory body.

Randall Markarian, D.M.D., council chair, and the committee’s subject matter experts are individuals from the council and other sectors of the dental community with perspective and experience in one or more of the following areas:
• Clinical documentation.
• Administrative transactions.
• Data exchange and interoperability.
 
In July, the ADA Board of Trustees accepted the council’s proposal of creating a task force to address the need to revise the CDT code.

The taskforce held its first meeting Aug. 26.
 
“This is going to be a multi-year project whose outcome will affect all sectors of the dental community,” Dr. Markarian said.

“The CDT Code has existed since 1969,” he said. “Over the last 20 years, the code set has grown significantly and now includes over 750 procedures. CDT was initially seen as most useful for claim reporting and adjudication. This viewpoint arose at a time when paper and manual input was the dominant method of information capture, transmission and processing.”

Today, the dominant method of information capture is electronic.

“While initially the code set was seen as most useful for claims adjudication, that is no longer the case,” Dr. Markarian added. “The advent of data analytics, the need to measure outcomes and the emergence of artificial/augmented intelligence all necessitate the repositioning of CDT for uses beyond claims administration. The profession is in need of a procedure coding system that will support a robust electronic health record and cost-effective data analyses mechanisms.”

Dr. Markarian said that interoperability is a fundamental concept behind electronic health care information exchange to support patient care.

“An enhanced CDT will enable this ADA intellectual property to continue serving the evolving needs of the profession and maintain its position as the named HIPAA standard code set for reporting dental procedures,” he said.

The council will ensure there are opportunities for all stakeholders to engage with this process. Anyone with comments on this project should email dentalcode@ada.org.