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Qualifiers and refinable definitions

A qualifying characteristic is an attribute that may have one of several possible values for a particular Concept. If a particular qualifier is applied to a Concept, the resulting expression represents a more tightly defined subtype of that Concept.

Example: It might be possible to qualify a disorder such as 53084003 |bacterial pneumonia| according to its clinical course ( 53737009 |acute| or 90734009 |chronic|) or severity ("mild," "moderate" or 24484000 |severe|). With appropriate qualifiers, "injury of skin of the left side of face" could then be represented even if a single Concept Identifier cannot express this.

A similar tightening of the definition of a Concept can be achieved by allowing one or more of the defining characteristics associated with a Concept to be refined. A defining characteristic is refined by an expression that applies a specified subtype of the value stated in the definition.

Example: 125605004 |Fracture of bone| could be refined by qualifying it with the finding site"tibia" to represent the Concept 31978002 |Fracture of tibia|.