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This section provides an overview of:

  • glossary-ref

    Gloss
    LinkType
    Space
    subtle
    true
    tSNOMED
    CT
    features

  • Exploring 

    glossary-ref
    Gloss
    LinkType
    t
    none
    SNOMED
    CT
    Glossary refSNOMED

  • Gloss
    Spacetrue
    tSNOMED CT
    design and development
    Glossary ref
    SNOMED CT
    Glossary ref

  • Gloss
    Spacetrue
    tSNOMED CT
    Gloss
    tcomponents
     components and glossary-ref
    Gloss
    thierarchies

  • SNOMED CT characteristics
  • SNOMED CT supporting different languages
  • SNOMED CT products and services

Why is this important?

An awareness of

glossary-ref
Gloss
tSNOMED
CT
 features,  glossary-ref
Gloss
tcomponents
, characteristics and products provides an initial foundation on which to build greater understanding. It also informs discussions leading to decisions about adoption, implementation and use of this terminology.

What is this?

SNOMED CT Features

glossary-ref

Gloss
tSNOMED
CT
:

  • Is the most comprehensive, multilingual clinical healthcare terminology in the world.
  • Is a resource with comprehensive, scientifically validated clinical content.
  • Enables consistent, processable representation of clinical content in

    glossary-ref
    Gloss
    telectronic
    health
    records.

  • Is mapped to other international standards.
  • Is already used in more than fifty countries.

When implemented in software applications, SNOMED

Glossary ref
Gloss
Spacetrue
tSNOMED CT
can be used to represent clinically relevant information consistently, reliably and comprehensively as an integral part of producing electronic health information.

Implementation requires an understanding of the way that

glossary-ref
Gloss
tSNOMED
CT
 content is represented by glossary-ref
Gloss
tcomponents
 and supported by glossary-ref
Gloss
treference
sets
 (Refsets).

Exploring SNOMED CT

While reading the guide, you may find it useful to explore the content of

glossary-ref
Gloss
tSNOMED
CT
. You can do this using one of a range of online
Glossary ref
Gloss
Spacetrue
tbrowsers
listed on our web site at http://snomed.org/browsers. Note that the listed glossary-ref
Gloss
tbrowsers
 are not endorsed by glossary-ref
Gloss
tSNOMED
International
 and they should only be used to a get feel for the content and structure of the terminology. It is useful to experiment with several different glossary-ref
Gloss
tbrowsers
 as they vary in the way they present particular features of the terminology.

...

SNOMED CT is a core clinical healthcare terminology that contains

glossary-ref
Gloss
LinkType
Space
subtle
true
tconcepts
with unique meanings and formal logic based definitions organized into glossary-ref
Gloss
thierarchies
. glossary-ref
Gloss
tSNOMED
CT
 content is represented using three types of glossary-ref
Gloss
tcomponents
:

  • glossary-ref

    Gloss
    tConcepts
     representing clinical meanings that are organized into hierarchies. Glossary ref

  • Gloss
    Spacetrue
    tDescriptions
    which link appropriate human readable glossary-ref
    Gloss
    tterms
     to glossary-ref
    Gloss
    tconcepts.
    glossary-ref

  • Gloss
    tRelationships
     which link each concept to other related glossary-ref
    Gloss
    tconcepts.

These

glossary-ref
Gloss
tcomponents
 are supplemented by glossary-ref
Gloss
treference
sets
, which provide additional flexible features and enable configuration of the terminology to address different requirements.

Page break

Concepts

Glossary refSNOMED CT

Gloss
Spacetrue
tSNOMED CT concepts
represent clinical thoughts, ranging from |abscess| to |zygote|. Every glossary-ref
Gloss
tconcept
 has a unique numeric glossary-ref
Gloss
tconcept
identifier
. Within each
Glossary ref
Gloss
Spacetrue
thierarchy,
Glossary ref
Gloss
Spacetrue
tconcepts
are organized from the general to the more detailed. This allows detailed clinical data to be recorded and later accessed or aggregated at a more general level.

Descriptions

Glossary refSNOMED CT

Gloss
Spacetrue
tSNOMED CT descriptions
link appropriate human readable terms to glossary-ref
Gloss
tconcepts
. A glossary-ref
Gloss
tconcept
 can have several associated glossary-ref
Gloss
tdescriptions
, each representing a glossary-ref
Gloss
tsynonym
 that describes the same clinical concept. Each glossary-ref
Gloss
ttranslation
 of glossary-ref
Gloss
tSNOMED
CT
 includes an additional set of glossary-ref
Gloss
tdescriptions
, which link glossary-ref
Gloss
tterms
 in another glossary-ref
Gloss
tlanguage
 to the same glossary-ref
Gloss
tSNOMED
CT
concepts
. Every glossary-ref
Gloss
tdescription
 has a unique numeric glossary-ref
Gloss
tdescription
identifier.

Relationships

glossary-ref

Gloss
tSNOMED
CT
relationships
 link concepts to other glossary-ref
Gloss
tconcepts
 whose meaning is related in some way. These glossary-ref
Gloss
trelationships
 provide formal definitions and other properties of the glossary-ref
Gloss
tconcept
. One type of
Glossary ref
Gloss
Spacetrue
trelationship
is the glossary-ref
Gloss
t|is
a|
relationship
 which relates a
Glossary ref
Gloss
Spacetrue
tconcept
to more general glossary-ref
Gloss
tconcepts
. These glossary-ref
Gloss
GlosTerm
t
is a
|is
a|
relationships
GlosTermis a
 define the
Glossary ref
Gloss
Spacetrue
thierarchy
of glossary-ref
Gloss
tSNOMED
CT
concepts.

  • For example, the

    glossary-ref
    Gloss
    tconcepts
     |bacterial pneumonia| and |viral pneumonia| both have an |is a| relationship to |infective pneumonia| which has an |is a| relationship to the more general glossary-ref
    Gloss
    tconcept
     |pneumonia|.

Other types of

glossary-ref
Gloss
trelationships
 represent aspects of the meaning of a glossary-ref
Gloss
tconcept.

  • For example, the

    glossary-ref
    Gloss
    tconcept
     |viral pneumonia| has a |causative agent| relationship to the glossary-ref
    Gloss
    tconcept
    |virus| and a |finding site|
    Glossary ref
    Gloss
    Spacetrue
    trelationship
    to the glossary-ref
    Gloss
    tconcept
     |lung|.

Every

glossary-ref
Gloss
trelationship
 has a unique numeric Glossary ref
Glossary ref
relationship
Gloss
Spacetrue
trelationship
Gloss
tidentifier.

Reference sets

glossary-ref

Gloss
tReference
sets
(Refsets) are a flexible standard approach used by glossary-ref
Gloss
tSNOMED
CT
 to support a variety of requirements for customization and enhancement of glossary-ref
Gloss
tSNOMED
CT
. These include the representation of glossary-ref
Gloss
tsubsets
, language preferences for use of particular glossary-ref
Gloss
tterms
 and glossary-ref
Gloss
tmapping
 from or to other code systems. Every glossary-ref
Gloss
treference
set
 has a unique numeric glossary-ref
Gloss
tconcept
identifier.

SNOMED CT Hierarchies

glossary-ref

Gloss
tSNOMED
CT
concepts
 are organized in hierarchies. Within a Glossary ref
Glossary ref
hierarchy
Gloss
Spacetrue
thierarchy
Gloss
Spacetrue
tconcepts
range from the more general to the more detailed. Related glossary-ref
Gloss
tconcepts
 in the
Glossary ref
Gloss
Spacetrue
thierarchy
are linked using the |is a| relationship.

...

SNOMED CT Characteristics - Comprehensive, Scalable and Flexible

Glossary refSNOMED

Gloss
Spacetrue
tSNOMED CT
has a broad coverage of health related topics. It can be used to describe a patient's medical history, the details of an orthopedic procedure, the spread of epidemics, and much more. At the same time, the terminology has an unmatched depth, which enables clinicians to record data at the appropriate level of granularity.

Specific applications tend to focus on a restricted set of

glossary-ref
Gloss
tSNOMED
CT
, such as glossary-ref
Gloss
tconcepts
 related to ophthalmology. These glossary-ref
Gloss
tsubsets
 can be used to present relevant parts of the terminology, depending on the clinical context and local requirements. This means for example, that a drop down list to select diagnoses in an glossary-ref
Gloss
telectronic
health
record
 in a mental health facility can be tailored to that setting. Similarly, glossary-ref
Gloss
tsubsets
 can be defined for problem lists for physician specialties or to provide appropriate medication lists for nurses in community care.

When individual jurisdictions have needs beyond those that can be reflected in a global terminology, perhaps due to requirements in local legislation, they can develop local or national

glossary-ref
Gloss
textensions
. Thus, even though glossary-ref
Gloss
tSNOMED
CT
 is global in scope, it can be adapted to each country's or areas requirements. glossary-ref
Gloss
tSNOMED
CT
 maps work to provide explicit links to health related classifications and coding schemes in use around the world, e.g. glossary-ref
Gloss
tstatistical
classifications
 such as
Glossary ref
Gloss
Spacetrue
t ICD-9-CM,
glossary-ref
Gloss
tICD-10
, and glossary-ref
Gloss
tICD-O3
. Maps to or from several national code systems are also available from, or under development, by glossary-ref
Gloss
tMembers
. Maps to or from clinical domain specific code systems are also maintained by specialty groups with which glossary-ref
Gloss
tSNOMED
International
 has collaborative agreement. Maps facilitate reuse of glossary-ref
Gloss
tSNOMED
CT
 based clinical data for other purposes, such as reimbursement or statistical reporting.

...

Supporting Different Languages

glossary-ref

Gloss
tSNOMED
CT
 is a multinational, multilingual terminology. It has a built-in framework to manage different glossary-ref
Gloss
tlanguages
 and glossary-ref
Gloss
tdialects
. The glossary-ref
Gloss
tInternational
Release
 includes a set of language independent glossary-ref
Gloss
tconcepts
 and glossary-ref
Gloss
trelationships
. Today, glossary-ref
Gloss
tSNOMED
CT
 is available in US English, UK English, Spanish, Danish and Swedish. Partial glossary-ref
Gloss
ttranslations
 into Canadian French, Lithuanian, and several other glossary-ref
Gloss
tlanguages
 are currently taking place, and further
Glossary ref
language
Glossary ref
Gloss
Spacetrue
tlanguage
Gloss
Spacetrue
ttranslations
are being planned by
Glossary ref
Gloss
Spacetrue
tMembers.
The basic objective of any
Glossary ref
SNOMED CT
Glossary ref
Gloss
Spacetrue
tSNOMED CT
Gloss
ttranslation
 is to provide accurate representations of glossary-ref
Gloss
tSNOMED
CT
concepts
 in a way that is understandable, usable, and safe.
Glossary ref
Gloss
Spacetrue
tTranslation
must be glossary-ref
Gloss
tconcept
 based. Translators need to analyse
Glossary ref
Gloss
Spacetrue
tconcepts
based on the glossary-ref
Gloss
tfully
specified
name
 and take account of its position within the glossary-ref
Gloss
thierarchy
, its glossary-ref
Gloss
tdescriptions
, and its glossary-ref
Gloss
trelationships
 to other glossary-ref
Gloss
tconcepts
. This enables a meaningful glossary-ref
Gloss
ttranslation
 of a glossary-ref
Gloss
tconcept
 based on phrases that are well used and clearly understood in all countries. glossary-ref
Gloss
tSNOMED
International
 maintains guidelines and other materials to support countries undertaking translations.

SNOMED CT Products and Services

glossary-ref

Gloss
tMembers
 and organizations covered by the SNOMED CT glossary-ref
Gloss
tAffiliate
License
 have access to a range of products and services, including:

  • SNOMED CT terminology files consisting of:
    • glossary-ref

      Gloss
      tConcepts
      glossary-ref

    • Gloss
      tDescriptions

    • glossary-ref

      Gloss
      tRelationships

  • Glossary ref

    Gloss
    Spacetrue
    tDerivative
    works that help in the uptake and use of glossary-ref
    Gloss
    tSNOMED
    CT
    , including glossary-ref
    Gloss
    tReference
    Sets
     that support:

    • Identification of

      Glossary ref
      Gloss
      Spacetrue
      tsubsets
      of SNOMED CT content glossary-ref

    • Gloss
      tLanguage
       or glossary-ref
      Gloss
      tdialect
       preferences for use of particular  glossary-ref
      Gloss
      tdescriptions

    • Maps to other code systems and classifications
    • Other relevant

      glossary-ref
      Gloss
      tmetadata
       to support use of Glossary ref
      Glossary ref
      SNOMED CT
      Gloss
      Spacetrue
      tSNOMED CT
      Gloss
      tcomponents.

  • Implementation guidance for successful use of

    glossary-ref
    Gloss
    tSNOMED
    CT
     including:

    • Implementation guidance
    • Translation guidance
    • Editorial guidance for content development
  • Access to services supporting submission of requests for changes or additions to content and documentation.
  • Participation in the global

    glossary-ref
    Gloss
    tSNOMED
    International
     community through an electronic collaborative space and meeting of special interest groups.

...