Australian SNOMED Clinical Terminology Released

In December 2009, the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) launched the first release of SNOMED CT-AU to Australian licence holders.

A standard clinical terminology enables the terms used as part of clinical communications to be clearly recorded and interpreted and gives healthcare providers and developers of e-health applications a common language to ensure consistency and clarity in information that is recorded and exchanged. SNOMED CT (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine-Clinical Terms) is such a clinical terminology.

SNOMED CT is considered the most comprehensive, multilingual clinical healthcare terminology in the world and was endorsed by NEHTA as the preferred terminology for Australia shortly after the organisation’s foundation in 2005.

According to NEHTA, the way patient clinical information is captured and shared by healthcare providers is vital to improving the quality and safety of healthcare delivery and is fundamental to the success of e-health.

SNOMED CT-AU is the Australian version of SNOMED CT, which contains additional customised content for the Australian healthcare market. Specifically, the initial release of SNOMED CT-AU includes relevant components from the SNOMED CT international release, a list (known as a reference set) of the Australian English preferred descriptions, and context specific reference sets designed to support the data requirements for NEHTA’s clinical information specifications. Documentation and terminology viewer software to access the files on Windows and Macintosh operating systems are also available.

According to NEHTA, this first release of SNOMED CT-AU provides the product platform for the incorporation and release of newly developed Australian terminology content. NEHTA is working on additional sets of new content to be incorporated into ongoing releases. The next release will be available in May 2010 with updated international and Australian content. Subsequent releases will then be available every six months.

NEHTA administers SNOMED CT licensing in Australia on behalf of the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO).

Posted in Australian eHealth

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