SNOMED Documentation Search

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Current Version - Under Revision

The previous sections describe various mechanisms for extending and constraining search and navigation during data entry. The scope of applicability of these facilities varies and these variations affect the way in which they may be implemented.

A few constraints apply to all data entry events in a particular application. These fixed constraints could be hard-coded in the application or explicitly optimized when importing and indexing SNOMED CT content.


One example is to exclude Inactive Concepts and Descriptions from searches. Before building this type of facility into an application, care should be taken to consider circumstances, such as creation and editing of queries where access to Inactive Concepts may be required.

Most search constraints are to some extent configurable and these require greater flexibility in the application design. There are several types of configurability that may be required. These range from installation configuration to context-specific dynamic configuration.

Installation configuration of data entry

Requirements of an organization that are general to all users may be applied when installing the application or when importing or indexing SNOMED CT content. These may include:

Log-on configuration of data entry

The application should allow search constraints that are specific to a particular user or group of users when loading or logging on to an application. The range of possible search constraints may be preset at installation but it should be possible to apply the user profile constraints without a significant delay. Uses of this type of configuration include:

  • Simple Reference Sets which apply constraints or optimizations applicable to a particular specialty;
  • Ordered Reference Set that provide a restricted or extended data entry hierarchy appropriate to the needs or preferences of a particular specialty or user;
  • Language Reference Set that meet the needs of particular users in a multi-lingual environment.

Consideration should be given to requirements for this type of search configuration to be modified by a user or system administrator.

Dynamic reconfiguration of data entry

Constraints that assist fast and consistent routine data entry may sometimes need to be relaxed to enable more complex entries to be made.

  • If a Ordered Reference Set limits the scope of hierarchical navigation, the application should enable the user to utilize the subtype hierarchy to allow other options or a more complete set of options to be reviewed;
  • If a user is unable to locate the Concept that they require, it may be useful to enable some or all of the search constraints to be temporarily lifted.

Context-sensitive of data entry constraints

Some constraints may apply to particular data entry contexts. To support this type of functionality, an application should be able to switch between sets of search constraints in real - time. The constraints need to change instantly as a user moves between different data entry fields. Context-dependent constraints may include:


A field for entry of a procedure may be associated with a constraint that limits searches to subtypes of the Concept "procedure."


A field for entry of a laboratory service request may constrain searches to a list of valid investigations supported by a particular laboratory.

  • Use of a particular Ordered Reference Set or an specified sub-branch of an Ordered Reference Set:
    • This is an alternative approach that may be used to allow more sophisticated control of data entry in a particular context.