IHTSDO is a not-for-profit association, which is owned and governed by its national Members. It is an international standards body that develops, maintains and promotes effective use of clinical terminology in healthcare information systems. The principal product of this multilingual initiative is SNOMED CT, a standard clinical terminology that is designed to support translation. The organization also encourages, guides, advises and supports key players and stakeholders in SNOMED CT implementation in order to encourage further use.
As set out in its Articles of Association the purpose of the IHTSDO is to:
- Acquire, own and administer the rights to SNOMED CT, other health terminologies and/or related standards and other relevant assets (collectively known as "Terminology Products");
- Develop, maintain, promote and enable the uptake and correct use of its Terminology Products in health systems, services and products around the world; and
- Undertake all related incident activities conducive to achieving this purpose.
- In doing this, its objectives are to:
- Enhance the health of humankind by facilitating better health information management;
- Contribute to improved delivery of care by clinical and social care professions;
- Facilitate the accurate sharing of clinical and related health information, and the semantic interoperability of health records;
- Encourage global collaboration and cooperation with respect to the ongoing improvement of the terminology products; and
- Provide the foregoing on a globally coordinated basis, thereby enabling the members and the related organizations within their Territories to pool resources and share benefits relating to the development and maintenance of, and their utilization of and reliance upon, the terminology products.
- The following principles guide all the IHTSDO's activities:
- The Association will seek to govern itself and conduct all of its activities in accordance with principles of openness, fairness, transparency and accountability to its members.
- The Association will seek to conduct all of its activities in a prudent, responsible and ethical manner that is conducive to ensuring its long-term viability, the overall value and utility of all of its assets and, in particular, the technical and clinical fitness of the terminology products.
- The Association will seek to work with other parties relevant to achieving its purpose and objectives in a spirit of collaboration and will, as appropriate, seek to facilitate interoperability of its terminology products with other relevant standards and products.
- The Association will seek to encourage intellectual contributions to the terminology products from other entities upon terms that permit such other entities to use and distribute their own work for any purpose that does not conflict with the Association's purpose and objectives.
- The Association will strive to avoid taking any action which is expected to confer upon certain members or other parties undue advantages over other members or over the Association, except with respect to the rights, privileges and obligations granted to the Members specified in the articles.