A further step towards interoperability: applying the SNOMED CT engine to the international patient summary


London, UK, November 25, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – At the recent SNOMED International business meetings held in London in October, the organization’s governing bodies made the decision to expand the core of the SNOMED CT structured clinical terminology to provide a sub-ontology to support the scope of content in the International Patient Summary (IPS.)

The IPS is an electronic health record extract containing essential health care information for use in the unscheduled cross-border care scenario, as well as for local, regional and other care scenarios. This is a minimal and non-exhaustive set of data elements defined by ISO / EN 17269 and provided by HL7 in both CDA and FHIR using an organized set of SNOMED CT terms. .

There is a wave of support across all healthcare sectors to increase the portability and ease of use of patient information for the purpose of providing safe healthcare. In 2019, SNOMED International and HL7 International announced the formalization of a license agreement in which a relevant set of “free to use” SNOMED CT coded concepts would be used within IPS HL7. Most recently, we saw G7 leaders collaborate to issue a statement on the urgent need to advance an interoperability agenda in global health. IBM offers a working definition of interoperability as “the rapid and secure access, integration and use of electronic health data so that it can be used to optimize health outcomes for individuals and populations” . The G7 communiqué, which underscored the importance of enabling digital health systems around the world to work together seamlessly as patients move between providers, facilities and even countries, is a powerful statement that s ‘has spread throughout the global health community. A charge supported by the Global Partnership for Digital Health, that is, a SNOMED International is eager to support.

Taking a collaborative approach, “SNOMED International has been delighted to continue to work with HL7 International and partners across Europe and beyond to define SNOMED CT content to be used in the International Patient Summary,” said the President. from SNOMED International Board of Directors, Joanne Burns.

Continuing to act in the spirit of the IPS Freeset, SNOMED International is committed to creating and publishing an openly available IPS sub-ontology during the first half of 2022 to improve the existing cross-border movement of information and ultimately , the interoperability of the health system. Unlike SNOMED International’s Global Patient Set, a flat list of SNOMED CT codes and terms, an IPS sub-ontology will provide implementers with a product that can be used in healthcare solutions using the power of SNOMED CT via its query language and hierarchies for scopes. The use of IPS sub-ontology will allow more efficient use of clinical data analysis and decision support, as well as for artificial intelligence applications.

Alex Elias, Chairman of the General Assembly of SNOMED International, the organization’s member governance body, observed a significant increase in discussions regarding IPS. “2021 has seen increased interest from governments and healthcare and healthcare organizations around the world in implementing IPS to improve the timely flow of cross-border healthcare information and interoperability. This has been one of the main drivers of SNOMED International supporting this recent initiative to make the IPS sub-ontology openly available with SNOMED CT content. “

An organization with a long history and an active collaborative program, SNOMED International CEO Don Sweete has played a central role in positioning the IPS sub-ontology as a “coming” reality. “As recently reported by G7 health ministers, the importance of enabling digital health systems around the world to work together seamlessly so that patients do not suffer as they move between providers, institutions and even countries is a sentiment that has spread throughout the global health community, ”suggested Sweete. He went on to state that “continuing to work with other health, national, clinical and technical standards development entities, SNOMED International will dedicate resources to achieve the goal of digital health interoperability”. Sweete added: “Equipping the IPS, already one of the best examples of international collaboration between standardization bodies, with the full capacity of SNOMED CT’s ontological design is an important action that we can help to achieve gains from. ” access to health information for patients. “

Over the next few months, SNOMED International will formalize the steps and due diligence required to make the IPS sub-ontology available for wide dissemination. Throughout this period, SNOMED International will continue to define the IPS sub-ontology, from content to its release and maintenance approach for launch in the first half of 2022.

Visit SNOMED International’s IPS sub-ontology information page or subscribe to the organization’s news service to learn more as this initiative progresses. For more information, contact [email protected]

About SNOMED International

SNOMED International is a non-profit organization that owns and develops SNOMED CT, the world’s most comprehensive health terminology product. We play a vital role in improving the health of humanity by setting standards for codified language that represents clusters of clinical terms. This enables global healthcare information to be exchanged for the benefit of patients and other stakeholders. We are committed to rigorously evolving our products and services, in order to deliver continuous innovation to the global healthcare community. SNOMED International is the trade name of the International Organization for the Development of Health Terminology Standards.


  • SNOMED CT: The Global Language of Healthcare

Kelly Kuru
SNOMED International
[email protected]

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