Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) is a vocabulary used to describe common procedures performed by medical professionals. The CPT standard consists of three categories:

  • Category I - codes that describe common medical, surgical, radiology, laboratory, anesthesiology, and evaluation/management services of physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers.
  • Category II - codes that describe performance measurement variables designed to facilitate data collection about the quality of care rendered.
  • Category III - temporary codes that describe emerging technology, services, and procedures. 

CPT codes are used in electronic transaction messages and electronic medical records (EMRs) to accurately identify the procedures performed during a clinical encounter. The American Medical Association (AMA) developed CPT in 1996 and is responsible for the continued maintenance of the CPT standard. The 2007 version of CPT contains 8,611 codes and descriptors. The standard is updated annually. AMA provides several additional informational resources, including the monthly newsletter CPT Assistant and an annual publication called CPT Changes: An Insider's View. For more information, visit the AMA's CPT Web site. The 2009 CPT became available in October 2008.

Last Modified: September 2014