Implementing SNOMED: issues and opportunities

This story first appeared in the April 2014 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

SNOMED Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT) is a clinical terminology that has been endorsed as the preferred national terminology for Australia. The Australian extension, SNOMED CT-AU, is slowly being implemented in Australian clinical IT systems, but it is a complex exercise that is still in its early stages.

SNOMED CT: is it just another code system, a nuisance to implement, a challenge for mapping to and from my system? Well, yes, it is these things, but also much, much more. It is the key to achieving the benefits of eHealth systems.

Getting the benefits of SNOMED CT in our systems is more than simply using SNOMED CT codes; it requires more sophistication than this to gain major benefits and to accurately use SNOMED CT in our EHRs.

Some facts: computers are able to do magical things but they are only as good as the instructions they are given. Computers need three things to support clinical decision systems:

  • Computer interpretable representation of meaning, provided by SNOMED CT
  • Knowledge-based rules represented using SNOMED CT
  • Computer systems which can interpret and query the meanings in SNOMED CT.

To read the full story, click here for the April 2014 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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