SNOMED clinical terms get updated

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The second international release of SNOMED Clinical Terms (CT) is now available for use, incorporating enhancements which are part of ongoing efforts directed towards facilitating the use of the terminology in EHRs.

SNOMED CT is a standardized clinical terminology which facilitates the consistent capture, exchange and aggregation of health data.

The International Health Terminology Standards Development Organization owns SNOMED CT and has contracted SNOMED Terminology Solutions, a division of the College of American Pathologists, to develop and maintain SNOMED CT.

This release of SNOMED CT includes more than 315,000 active concepts, 806,000 active descriptions and 945,000 defining relationships.

Some examples of specific areas of content focus included updates to the:

  • Specimen hierarchy: Improvements to the definitions of concepts in the specimen hierarchy have been made. Completion of the concept definitions allowed concepts in the hierarchy to be fully defined, allowing users to perform more comprehensive searches.
  • Imaging sub-hierarchy: Standard naming conventions and consistent definitions have been implemented for many new imaging procedure concepts to allow for easier data retrieval. For example, there are several ways to name CT procedures: CT, computed tomography, computerized tomography, CAT scan and CT study. 
  • Pharmaceutical/biological products hierarchy: Dose forms have been added to many concept definitions, which allows a computer-readable definition for concepts with specific dose forms and facilitates consistent retrieval by organizing the products by their dose form.
  • Organism hierarchy: More than 2,000 new organisms requested by public health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were added.

Additionally, a new references table, which allows the inclusion of historical information about retired descriptions, was released for the first time in July.