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VSAC Support Center

Updating Value Sets


Code Validation, Expansion Profiles, and Revisions

The following tutorial supports any Authors who need to update their value sets as well as the measure developers and value set developers for the annual updates of the electronic Clinical Quality Measure (eCQM) value sets. This tutorial is useful for other purposes as well, beyond the eCQM value set annual updates.

Image of the open VSAC Authoring tab, showing the My Value Sets and Search All Value Sets sections.

My Value Sets contains all value sets, regardless of status, assigned to you as an Author and/or as a Steward.

Search All Value Sets contains all value sets, regardless of status. Click [Search] to view all.

Image of the open VSAC Authoring tab, showing the expanded Search All Value Sets section. The Search button is highlighted to show the user needs to click on the Search button to obtain the list of all value sets.

Use the filter boxes to refine your results, and click on any column heading to sort your results.

Image of the open VSAC Authoring tab, showing the expanded Search All Value Sets section. The Code System column filter text box contains 'LOINC' and the Author column filter text box contains 'VSAC.
  • In addition to UMLS License credentials, you must also obtain VSAC authoring/stewarding permissions by contacting the VSAC staff at Customer Support.
  • A value set must be assigned to an Author and Steward group in order for an Author or Steward to have access to the value set for the purpose of editing, updating and publishing.
  • New value sets created by Authors in the VSAC are automatically associated to the Author who created it.
  • If you authored draft value sets in the Measure Authoring Tool prior to the MAT-VSAC import on 11/24/2013 then you must contact the VSAC staff directly to associate your draft value sets to your Author and Steward group.

First, expansion refers to the calculation of a value set's list of codes according to a defined rule or set of rules, such as specific code system versions.

Second, an expansion profile is a set of rules defined by a particular program, such as the CMS Clinical Quality Measures Value Sets Annual Update. For example, the MU2 EH Update 2014-04-01 expansion profile applied a set of allowable code system versions, defined by CMS, as well as a set of desired legacy codes, approved by CMS.

The Expansion Profile for the MU2 EH Update 2014-04-01 validated value set code lists against the code system versions and legacy codes defined by CMS and ONC.

Value sets that were previously published have likely undergone code changes due to periodic updates to the code systems on which the value sets were based. Some codes may now be invalid or inactive (retired), and some codes may have remapping information to other codes if the code system provided this information.

Authors need to review all value sets they wish to republish for the upcoming eCQM Annual Updates.

  1. Find your value sets in My Value Sets, if they have been assigned to you. If a value set is not yet assigned to your Author Group, please Contact NLM as soon as possible.
  2. Click on the value set OID to review your value set.
  3. In the Value Set Code List, click the Validate link to apply the appropriate Expansion Profile to your value set codes. Check with your program or sponsoring agency to determine which Expansion Profile you should use. In the Code Validation pop-up box, click [Expand] to view the expansion results.
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  4. You can click the [View] button to see exactly which code system versions are being applied to your value set codes. Here, you see an example of the MU2 EH Update 2014-04-01 Expansion Profile being applied to this value set.
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  5. Review the Expansion List, looking for codes marked Invalid or Inactive. These invalid and inactive codes should be removed from your value set. Sometimes there will be a Remapped code available for the inactive/invalid code. There will be very few cases of Remapped codes.
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  1. Use the column headings to sort your view of validation and remapping information to facilitate reviewing the validation table.
  2. If Remapping codes exist for any of your inactive/invalid codes, you will see a [View Remap Info] button at the top right of the table. When you click on this [View Remap Info], you will see a new window providing a table with remapping information. You should review the remapped codes and decide if they are appropriate for your value set.
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The terms invalid and inactive are confusingly similar because they both mean the code should be removed from the value set, but for different reasons.

Invalid: The code never existed in the code system, it could be a typo, or it has been retired from the code system. You should remove invalid codes from your value sets.

Inactive: The code system has decided to suppress this code for reasons particular to the code system. You should remove inactive codes from your value sets.

  1. Before you modify your code list, it is important to first change the code system version to the appropriate code system version for your program release, as defined by your sponsoring agency or program. For example, the appropriate code system version for RxNorm is 2015-01 for the eCQM Annual Updates in 2015. You will need to manually remove old (inactive/invalid) codes from your value set and add any remapped codes, if appropriate, to your value set. Currently this is a manual process.
  2. Editing/Updating Your Value Set:

    If your value set is in Draft status and was not previously published, click the [Edit] button at the top of the tab.

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    If your value set is in Published status, and was previously published, click the [New Version] button at the top of the tab.


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  3. Check the check boxes beside codes you wish to remove from your value set, and then click the trashcan icon at the top of the Value Set Code List table.
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  4. To add individual codes to your value set, click the plus (+) icon at the top of the Value Set Code List table. This creates a new empty row at the top of the Value Set Code List table. Paste in the code field the code you wish to add, for example, a code that was mapped to an inactive or invalid code.
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In many cases, you may have a long list of codes that you wish to add to your value set and then Validate. You may have this list of codes stored in a local spreadsheet or in a non-spreadsheet formatted text file. You can copy the column of codes from your spreadsheet or import the codes from the text file and add them to your value set by using the Import link at the top of the Value Set Code List table.

  1. In the VSAC Authoring Tool, in a value set you are modifying, confirm you are in Edit mode by clicking the [Edit] or [New Version] button at the bottom of the Value Set Code List table. If you do not see the [Edit] or [New Version] button, you may not be the Value Set Author for this value set, or the value set may need to be withdrawn from a more advanced state (Proposed, Approved, Ready to Publish). Before importing your list of codes, you need to select a Code System and Code System Version for your value set. The codes you are about to import will be validated against your selected Code System and Code System Version.
  2. Locate and click the Import link at the top of the Value Set Code List table.
    Import Codes into a Value Set

Copy-Paste Codes into the Text Box

  1. If your codes are in an Excel spreadsheet, select and copy the spreadsheet column that contains the codes (do not include the column heading). In the Import Codes dialog pop-up box, select the From Text Box option from the Import Methods list to be able to simply copy and paste your codes, and then click the [Import] button. You will need to select the appropriate text separator: space, semicolon(;), TAB, or vertical bar(|).
  2. If any of your codes are invalid, the import tool will not allow them to be imported.
    Copy and Paste Codes into Text Box

Import Codes from a File

  1. Alternatively, if you have codes in a non-spreadsheet formatted file, such as a text (.txt) file, you can upload the file by selecting the From File option from the Import Methods list and then click on the [Select File] button. Locate the file on your computer and click the [OK] button. Be sure to select the appropriate text separator: space, semicolon(;), TAB, or vertical bar(|). The sample codes will be imported in the Codes text box. Click the [Import] button once you are done.
  2. You can import codes from an Excel spreadsheet using the From File option, but you will first need to save the spreadsheet as a text file. Once you have converted the spreadsheet to a text file you can import the codes using the From File option as previously mentioned.
    Import Codes from a File