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SNOMED International specifies and distributes a range of different reference set types as part of the International release of SNOMED CT. These types of reference sets have been specified to provide a foundation for the more general requirements that may arise when implementing/enabling SNOMED CT in clinical information systems.

Each reference set type is described in a machine-readable form that follows a specific reference set pattern. An overview of the different types of reference sets is provided in Appendix 1: Overview of Reference Set Types and the technical specification for each of these types can be found in the Technical Implementation Guide, section  5 Reference Set Release Files Specification.

This guide will provide guidance to the usage of a selected set of reference set types. For details about the general functionality of each of the reference set types included in this guide, please use the links below :

These reference set types are included in this guide, as they relate to the practical use of SNOMED CT content in clinical information systems. 

Other types of reference sets, such as the simple map reference set and the  complex and extended map reference set are important for the co-existence of SNOMED CT and other code systems, but are addressed in other guides. Some reference sets are used to hold metadata, which is used for management or maintenance purposes, such as the historical association reference set and the module dependency reference set. These reference set types will not be covered in this guide.

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