SNOMED Documentation Search

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In the previous sections of this guide, we have considered methods of ensuring that searches on a target phrase maximize the possibility of finding the concept that the system user requires. It is equally important to prevent the search results from containing excessive matches, since these will require filtering by the user, imposing an additional burden. Some strategies for limiting the number of search results displayed are discussed in the following sub-sections.

Avoiding multiple hits on the same concept

In many instances several synonyms associated with the same concept contain the same Keyword. The designer of search software may consider filtering the output of search results so that only the first matching description for a concept is displayed.


"Endoscopic examination of the stomach" and "endoscopy of the stomach" are synonyms of the same concept. A search for the target phrase "endo* stomach" would return the first phrase found during the search. The second would be excluded, since it has the same concept identifier as an existing match for this search.

Constraining and extending search parameters

User configurable options may be one way of limiting search results. Three possible methods of limiting search results through user configurable options are suggested here:

  • Limiting searches to exact matches unless wild cards are used. A search on a single word may produce many matches if it is assumed that the user is searching for any phrase that contains the target word. Forcing the use of wild cards for this kind of search can help avoid this problem.
  • Make searches that include use of word equivalents a user configurable option that can be used to extend or constrain a search.
  • Display search results a few at a time, with most frequently used descriptions listed first. This option will require the application to track the frequency of term selection so that search results can be sorted in this way.