Surgeon Mr Richard Earlam wrote this piece on SNOMED and Körner Data in the BMJ in 1988. I thought that it would be useful to come at SNOMED-CT® from another angle – history. Systems including ICD become more complex over time, so if we go back in time – maybe things are a little simpler. Going back to the beginning, SNOMED-CT® descended from SNOP – a systematised nomenclature of pathology. However an intermediary was SNOMED or SNOMED-RT. SNOMED-CT® resulted from an amalgamation of SNOMED-RT (RT standing for reference terminology) and the NHS Read Codes (otherwise known as Clinical Terms Version 3). Therefore in this article, SNOMED refers to this intermediate form which was generated in 1973.
Reading the article from a surgical perspective is quite interesting because Mr Earlam refers to SNOP in some detail. Pathology is quite relevant in surgery in clinical practice and Earlam is conversant with the dual axis descriptive system. The descriptors identify the anatomy and the pathology that affects the anatomical structures. Mr Earlam also talks us through the move to the six axes of SNOMED and again how this relates to practice.
What is also interesting about this snapshot in time is the reference to the Körner Data resulting from a series of reports which led to the minimum dataset.
Appendix A – Other Posts in the Series on Health Information Exchanges
Appendix B – Definition of Health Information Exchange
This is the definition of the Health Information Exchange that I use (Hersh et al, 2015)
‘Health information exchange (HIE), the electronic sharing of clinical information across the boundaries of health care organizations‘
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