provides a high-level view that illustrates the concept-centric design of . The subsections below describe the different elements illustrated here.

High-level abstract view of the design of SNOMED CT


Authors create a new  for each distinct clinical meaning added to the terminology.  Every  is uniquely identified and this identifier allows the concept to be unambiguously recorded in a clinical record. The concept identifier also allow other related information to be linked to a specific concept. This linked information includes human-readable terms and formal concept definitions. 


Terminology authors create a set of  each of which links a term to an identified concept. The linked terms must all be legitimate ways to label or refer to the concept to which they are linked. Translators also create  to link appropriate terms in other languages or dialects to the same . Since usage of terms varies depending on languages and dialects, the design also support addition of information about which descriptions contain terms that are preferred or acceptable in each language or dialect.

Concept Definitions

Terminology authors associate each  with a formal stated definition. This stated concept definition consists of  axioms that are known to be true for that concept (for example stating that appendectomy is a procedure that applies the method excision to the appendix structure). Because these axioms are stated in a formal way, a  can be applied to all the axioms in the terminology to generate additional logical inferences. Therefore, the overall model is designed to enable representation of both the original stated concept definition and the inferred view of the concept definition.

In practice, a  can generate more than one inferred view, depending on whether all logically inferred axioms are retained and on whether some types of redundant axioms are omitted from the inferred view.

Other Related Information

The SNOMED CT design also enables a wide range of customizable information to be linked to the concepts and descriptions mentioned above. The extensible design of SNOMED CT enables consistent representation and distribution of: