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In order to be able to adopt or adapt an existing reference set, you need to know what reference sets already exist. As there is no common library of SNOMED CT reference sets an authoring organization should apply alternative search strategies to explore what reference sets has already been developed.

Table Overview of potential sources of reference sets that can be approached when seeking for existing reference sets

Potential source


SNOMED International Browser

The online browser provide access to the International release of SNOMED CT and a range of national Editions, including reference sets defined within these Editions. The available reference sets should be represented as foundation metadata concepts and present as descendants of the concept 900000000000455006 | reference set (foundation metadata concept) |. SNOMED International browser provides access to the International Edition and some National Editions. The browser can be accessed here:

National Release Centers

reference sets which are not included as national Extensions to SNOMED CT may also be acquired from the National Release Center. Each SNOMED CT Member has a National Release Center and information about these is provided by SNOMED International website,

Personal networks/-Community of Practice

Explore your personal SNOMED CT network or the community of practice. The website provides access to information about existing SNOMED CT implementation initiatives. Some of these includes development and implementation of reference sets or subsets, so this is also a useful starting point for further exploration. Furthermore, attending the SNOMED Expo will also allow you to meet with persons directly involved with reference set development. You can find information about this event via SNOMED International website:

Web-based search

It may be useful to run a broad search on SNOMED CT reference sets or subsets using some of the great, commercial and non-topic specific search engines. This approach may result in identifying SNOMED CT subsets that use an alternative representation than the reference set format, or identifying clinical guidelines or recommendations that can help to specify the requirements for the content of the reference set. So, this approach is typically useful for getting inspiration to the content of the reference set to be developed.

Health IT vendors

It may very well be useful to explore what Terminology products and services are provided by Heath IT vendors. Providers of terminology servers and services may also have access to specific reference sets.

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