What is SNOMED CT and how it improve the work of practitioners?

Published by Dileep V S on

What is SNOMED CT and how it improves healthcare?

SNOMED CT is the acronym for Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine – Clinical Terms. It is a collection of more than 350,000 terms and phrases (referred to us concepts in SNOMED) that are popularly used in clinical practice across the world. These can be used to unambiguously record clinical concepts so that they are consistently understood always.

As per SNOMED International it:

  • 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 electronic health records
  • Is mapped to other international standards
  • Is already used in more than fifty countries

How is this beneficial to practitioners?

When implemented in EHR applications, this terminology can be used to represent clinically relevant information consistently, reliably and comprehensively as an integral part of producing electronic health information.

Apart from being the largest collection of clinical terms, SNOMED CT has evolved into a ‘healthcare ontology‘. It attempts to define every clinical term uniquely and unambiguously so that any chance of misinterpretation is eliminated. Thus by using SNOMED CT terminology to code your EHR, you make it possible for computers to interpret, process and analyse it.

In addition to the core clinical concepts, it includes a variety of relationships to create a matrix of interrelationships between them. This allows the physicians to record clinical details in the fine granularity required at the point of care. The SNOMED CT coded clinical data will also enable you to get insights & reports that will be beneficial to improve your practice.

SNOMED CT had developed mappings to ICD10 in collaboration with WHO. This comes very handy in the proper coding of insurance claims and in mandatory reporting to the different disease registries. So you can use SNOMED CT in fine grained clinical documentation required for care process and also generate classification coding required for reporting and claim processing.

SNOMED also allows translation of the concepts to other languages, thus making the clinical data inter-operable across countries, regions and languages. The language extensions in SNOMED CT contain synonyms of the concepts, linked to the same conceptID. So while one EHR records the data in one language, another can view the same in a different language by using the conceptID to get the second language synonym. NRCeS, the National Release Centre for India, has started work on the Indian language translation and have recently released a Hindi language pack for patient instructions.

Using SNOMED CT in your applications for the practitioners

SNOMED CT is IP protected and needs a license for use. As India is a member of SNOMED International, it is free for use inside the country. If you are a healthcare application developer creating application for use within India, you can use SNOMED CT in your application for free.

We, as an affiliate licensee, have integrated SNOMED CT library to our platform. Apart from the International edition, we will also be including all the relevant Indian extensions in the terminology service on our platform. This service is available as simple REST APIs to all application developers on EHR.Network. You can integrate SNOMED CT to your application very easily by using these APIs.

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