Textbook of Digital Health Cover

Textbook of Digital Health

Your companion for studying digital health and informatics


From Chapter 4 of the "Textbook of Digital Health" by Dr Chris Paton:

The Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine - Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT) terminology started out as the Systematized Nomenclature of Pathology (SNOP), introduced in the 1960s by the College of American Pathologists. Over time, the system expanded beyond pathology to encompass broader medical concepts, leading to the development of SNOMED, introduced in 1979. In the early 21st century, SNOMED merged with the United Kingdom’s Clinical Terms Version 3 (formerly known as the Read Codes), culminating in the creation of SNOMED-CT in 2002. This merger was aimed at harmonizing the two major clinical terminologies (SNOMED and Read Codes), thereby setting a new standard in healthcare information. SNOMED CT's development reflects an ongoing effort to establish a universal language in healthcare that can encompass the complexities and nuances of clinical information.

While SNOMED CT is recognized for its extensive coverage of medical concepts, including diseases, symptoms, procedures, and medical devices, among others, its implementation and utilization have been met with varying levels of adoption globally. The system's strengths lie in its detailed and comprehensive framework, which is designed to support the accurate and consistent recording of clinical data. However, the complexity and breadth of SNOMED CT also pose challenges. The comprehensive nature of the system requires substantial investment in terms of training and integration into existing healthcare IT infrastructures. Furthermore, while SNOMED CT aims to standardize medical terminology, variations in its application across different healthcare systems and cultural contexts indicate that achieving universal standardization remains a challenging endeavour. Its evolving nature necessitates ongoing updates and adaptations, reflecting the dynamic landscape of the medical field and the continuous advancement in healthcare knowledge.

Paton, C (2024). Textbook of Digital Health.