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College bows out of SNOMED development

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The College of American Pathologists plans to relinquish control of its subsidiary, SNOMED International.

SNOMED CT (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine Clinical Terms), is a coding system initially developed for pathologists but which has become more widely used for a variety of clinical coding tasks in more than 30 countries. England's NHS has mandated the standard as part of the health service digitisation project.

The NHS has made a significant investment in funding development of the coding system over the best part of a decade, a commitment which pre-dated the current NHS IT programme. Up to the end of 2003 the NHS had invested almost $10m in the development of SNOMED CT, but to date, the coding system has yet to be widely adopted within NHS clinical systems.

According to Health IT and Strategist, the College of American Pathologists (CAP) is planning to end its ownership of SNOMED.

The magazine quoted Betsy Humphreys, deputy director of the federally-funded National Library of Medicine, as saying that the CAP is planning to transfer ownership of SNOMED to an international standards development organisation.

"That is work that I expect to take place in our lifetime, within the next two or three months or so," Humphreys stated.  She said the US National Library of Medicine, which currently pays the bill for using SNOMED CT within the US, would pay the bill for joining this new organisation.

In November EHI reported on plans to create a SNOMED CT Standards Development Organisation (SDO) by the end of 2006. A meeting of potential charter members, including the Department of Health's IT agency, Connecting for Health (CfH), took place in Copenhagen last October.

In November, Richard Granger, CfH chief executive, said: "SNOMED CT provides the first opportunity for global standards of healthcare terminology and therefore data. The adoption and co-development of this standard by governments around the world presents the opportunity for significant health and efficiency benefits."

The DH originally mandated the use of SNOMED CT in its 2001 NHS IT strategy, Building the Information Core, which stated: "By March 2003 - clinical information systems start to use SNOMED Clinical Terms."

Last Updated ( Saturday, 03 March 2007 02:36 )  

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