The International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation IHTSDO launched a new IHTSDO Workbench with tools to develop, maintain, and facilitate the use of SNOMED CT in health systems around the world. IHTSDO’s 11 Member nations and other SNOMED CT users will use these tools in a shared web-based environment.
SNOMED Clinical Terms is a standardized terminology that can be used as the foundation for electronic health records and other applications. For example, different clinicians often use different terms to describe the same concept. SNOMED CT contains more than 310,000 unique concepts and more than 1.3 million links or relationships between them that ensure that this information is captured consistently, accurately, and reliably across the health system. The terminology is used in more than forty countries around the world. SNOMED CT was originally created by the College of American Pathologists by combining SNOMED RT and a computer-based nomenclature and classification known as Clinical Terms Version 3, formerly known as Read Codes Version 3, which was created on behalf of the UK Department of Health and is Crown copyright.
Jennifer Zelmer, IHTSDO’s chief executive officer, helping partners from around the world to collaborate on common challenges is one of the reasons that IHTSDO was founded. The will to cooperate was there from the beginning, but the Workbench makes it easier to work together and to spread innovations that will improve health and health care.
The IHTSDO Workbench includes a set of tools that will form the foundation of a multi-lingual modular workbench. The overall environment will initially host terminology browsing, authoring, subset and other reference set management, mapping, and namespace management applications. Users can either work independently or can collaborate on terminology editing, mapping, or other tasks. IHTSDO intends to add additional modules to the Workbench over time and to encourage partners to build and share complementary tools.
The successful bidders for the initial modules were Informatics Inc., CollabNet Inc., the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation through the Australian E-Health Research Centre, and Health Language, Inc. They were selected through a global Request for Proposals (RFP) that was conducted in conjunction with Open Health Tools in 2008. Evaluators from eight countries reviewed bids relative to the requirements specified in the RFP.
John Gutai, IHTSDO’s chief technical architect, The IHTSDO Workbench represents a step change in the ability to deliver health terminology. Members can use the Workbench to collaborate effectively in the development of a shared healthcare terminology, grounded in common language-independent concepts.
The SNOMED CT workbench is part of IHTSDO’s on-going efforts to enable broader access to, and use of, standardized clinical terminologies worldwide. Already, eleven countries have joined together to support the on-going development and maintenance of SNOMED CT and related standards, sharing the costs on a sliding scale based on national income and making the standards freely available in their jurisdictions. IHTSDO also offers free access to SNOMED CT in countries that are not yet members for qualifying research projects and on humanitarian or charitable grounds, as well as in countries with low income economies.
About International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation
The IHTSDO (International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation) and its Members seek to improve the health of humankind by fostering the development and use of suitable standardized clinical terminologies, notably SNOMED CT, in order to support the safe, accurate, and effective exchange of health information. The IHTSDO is an international organization, established as a Danish not-for-profit association. Copies of the Request for Information/Request for Proposals for the IHTSDO Workbench can be accessed at https://ihtsdo.projects.openhealthtools.org
Jennifer Zelmer or John Gutai
+45 3644 8736