The history of health terminologies dates back to the 17th century when English demographer John Graunt decided to study the statistical information about mortality. The most common causes of death in his “Bills of Mortality” include bloody flux, rising of the light, mortification, griping of the guts and teeth.
In 1839, an English epidemiologist, William Farr, expressed the medical community’s need for standard terminologies. He stated that disease has, been described using three or four terms and that each were inconvenient and quite vague names of diseases have been registered instead of primary diseases.
In 1893, Paris released the Bertillon Classification of Causes of Death. A few years later, the International Lists of Causes of Death was published to classify the most common causes of mortality. ICD-1 was released in 1900 and eventually fell under the control of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Currently, ICD-9 and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) are the most widely used administrative terminologies. However, these terminology standards are not designed to adopt Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) applications because they lack adequate structure and granularity, and they are not truly concept based.
The history of the modern terminology services in the United States started in 1996 when Kaiser, Mayo and Lexicon technology released the YATN, also known as the “Yet Another Terminology Service.” In 1998, three terminology services were released: the MetaPhrase by Lexicon Technology, the UC Davis JTerm Terminology service and Lexicon Query Services (LQS). In 2003, Common Terminology Services (CTS) was implemented. A year later, CTS was updated to CTS1 through HL 7 balloted procedure. In 2009, CTS was updated to its latest version, the CTS2, by going into another ballot.