AMA Health Solutions

CPT Link and the medical coding universe


What is CPT® Link?

Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) is a set of codes and descriptors for medical procedures. Since 1966 the American Medical Association has created CPT coding through a rigorous, physician-led process and published the data in print and as digital files. CPT Link represents the information and relationships in the CPT book as structured data elements for use in the electronic medical systems that run health care.

What kind of information is in CPT Link?

CPT Link contains:

  • Data parameters and attributes that allow querying of CPT data against a variety of factors
  • CPT descriptors in five formats
    • Short
    • Medium
    • Full
    • Consumer
    • Clinician
  • Change files showing changes in the CPT codes and descriptors from year to year and over the last decade
  • Section heading and hierarchy files define relationships for codes within the data set

How is CPT Link Used?

CPT Link is licensed to organizations for a variety of purposes including:
  • Using CPT guidelines to create machine readable coding rules
  • Updating and developing products that use CPT data
  • Using CPT Link terms to create, validate and display claims data
  • Connecting CPT concepts to modeled medical terminology like SNOMED
  • Selecting codes to inform computer assisted coding and natural language processing
  • Performing analytics

Why choose CPT Link?

The AMA has published CPT for over fifty years, but we’re not just a content company. As the largest physician membership organization in the U.S., the AMA’s CPT tools accurately describe medical procedures in language that is meaningful for clinicians. CPT Link leverages the AMA’s expertise and depth of knowledge to provide a digital representation of CPT data and relationships sourced from the experts.

What files are available through CPT Link?

  • Mapping between CPT and SNOMED, for reporting and to streamline reimbursements
  • CPT descriptors in five formats
  • Section and hierarchy files place CPT codes in context
  • Guidelines files provide executable CPT coding
  • Designations file identifies add-on codes and modifiers
  • Changes and change history files show revisions to the code set year to year and historically
  • Property and relationship files provide associated attributes and connections between CPT concepts
  • Excel extracts provide commonly queried data sets (e.g. Changes, Hierarchy, Section)


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