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Why should I, as a clinician, be involved in defining terms within SNOMED? 

The current terminology within SNOMED CT was developed by terminologists and clinicians in the 1990’s and contains in excess of 300,000 concepts. During this time, clinical practice itself has changed. Therefore, to ensure that SNOMED CT reflects current clinical practice, it essential that the content be reviewed by experts using their specific clinical expertise. This will ensure that as more clinical organisations (hospitals, general/family practices) procure electronic record systems, the language embedded in the systems will help clinicians in describing their population or the healthcare they deliver.

How do I find out what SNOMED terms are currently available? 

In order to access and view SNOMED CT, you will need to do so via a Browser, which will support visibility of the content within the terminology. There are different types that are freely available. SNOMED International provides a web-based browser, which is simple to access and use. To access the browser, please click here

What is the best method of reviewing SNOMED terms with my specialty area? 

There are several different ways of defining concepts/ terms within your specialism. Here are some tips: 

  • It may be helpful to define the 100 most common procedures or diagnoses you see within clinical practice. For most specialties this will encompass over 80% of practice and is a good place to start 
  • Decide the level of granularity or detail you need within your terms e.g. Primary augmentation rhinoplasty via an open approach with cartilage modification and implant insertion or primary augmentation rhinoplasty. Depending on your level of granularity, you will get exponentially increasing numbers of concepts and codes, which may make finding the right term within any EHRS a longer process 
  • Issues such as laterality are added as a separate concept 
  • Issues specific to diagnosis or procedure, which do not have national or international standards e.g. volume or dimensions of implants can be defined for UK specific use, but will need discussion with terminologists 

Where can I find more detail on Reference sets ?

There is a practical guide to reference sets, it can be found here Practical Guide to Reference Sets

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