Yeah, it is a little complicated. Here is the deal:
- The OHDSI Coordinating Center (Columbia) has a distribution license for CPT4, but only for the codes, not the descriptions.
- In order to make it work for OMOP, collaborators have to contribute the descriptions themselves.
- They could do that using their enterprise license, and then somehow cobble it together. But that would be a horrible mess.
- The only other places you can get the descriptions electronically is the CMS and the UMLS.
- UMLS licenses are easy to obtain, but personal.
So, we built the tool that uses the UMLS API and pulls out all the descriptions. But that requires the personal UMLS license. Bottom line: This is the easiest and most effective workaround we could think of.