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Webinar 1: Introduction to SNOMED CT


Webinar 1: Introduction to SNOMED CT

The first in this series of webinars is an introduction to SNOMED CT. This webinar looks at why a single terminology, what a terminology is, some of the features of SNOMED CT and gives some examples of where SNOMED CT is currently used and its benefits. This page contains questions with answers that were raised during the webinars together with links to the presentation and a pre-recorded version of the webinar which can both be downloaded.

If you have links or resources you think would be useful to include here, please email: snomedtraining@nhs.net.

Click here to download the Slides from this webinar  

A pre-recorded version of the webinar is available to view now via our TRUD site where it can also be downloaded once an account has been created.

A list of free to use SNOMED CT Browsers can be found here.

The following are the questions raised during webinar 1 along with our response. If you wish to debate these further, please copy and paste the question into the discussion board and then raise your further queries. Many Thanks.

What is the timetable for introducing SNOMED clinical terms into primary care systems?

The timetable is determined by the contracts which sit with each contract holder. Nationally we have informed all users and contract holders of the intentions to retire Read V2 and CTV3 by April 2015. This allows those contract holders to determine the timescales that are appropriate for them in line with the various priorities they have to manage.

As new ISB standards are introduced these will determine the timescales for their adoption and any mandatory inclusion of SNOMED CT terms when appropriate. This allows the timescales to be determined by the user domain having consulted when it is appropriate to do so. For example, the current work on Care Planning and the framework for record keeping uses SNOMED CT terms for activities, goals and problems. National data sets will also start to request SNOMED CT as part of data returns.

Is there a source of mapping SNOMED CT to ICD-10 codes?

Yes, cross mapping tables are part of the SNOMED CT release pack so if you download the SNOMED CT pack from TRUD, the cross maps are part of the files you receive. There is also a sub pack that just contains the cross maps, and can be found on TRUD under UKTC SNOMED called NHS SNOMED Cross Maps. There are maps between SNOMED CT and ICD-10, and also for SNOMED CT and OPCS-4. If you view webinar 2 it explains how to register on TRUD and download the files.

How often are they upgraded (browsers) – every 6 months?

SNOMED CT is updated every 6 months and most of the browser products produce either new data files for you to download to update your browser, or if they are on-line browsers/search applications, then these are generally updated fairly quickly after the release. The browsers are not part of the UKTC release products but are provided by external organisations who are actively involved in developing software using SNOMED CT. If you consult the web page of the organisation you got your browser from, they should give you these details; some email you direct when the files are available.

When will Vision and iSoft Synergy be moving over to SNOMED CT?

We are in communication with all of the suppliers so they are aware of the timeframes and our plans to retire both the Read V2 codes and CTV3 (Read V3) in April 2015. The business requires up to date codes to work with the National reporting and ISB requirements. The timeframes for each supplier however are determined by their users and the individual contracts they have in place.

Just to confirm - you said that the Summary Care Record already uses SNOMED CT?

Yes, the summary care record contains allergies, adverse reactions, medications (current repeat, discontinued repeat, acute) and additional information with patients consent such as current diagnoses eg diabetes, asthma. This SCR clinical data is stored using SNOMED CT as it provides consistent recording and thus the ability to transfer data across a mixed coding domain. The data received from each GP system is mapped to the appropriate SNOMED CT codes.

The information on the SCR unfortunately is not reliably coded in SNOMED -CT

Currently most GP systems do not use SNOMED CT to enter data, so the SNOMED CT content is obtained from the Read2 and CTV3 to SNOMED CT maps. The information in the GP summary contains the original text that was recorded in the GP system and the SNOMED CT code generated from the mapping tables. The original text entry is always used as the display text, so the original meaning is presented to the clinical user. The quality of the SNOMED CT codes produced is therefore reliant on the quality of the mapping table. We are not aware of such anomalies and if anyone finds data that is not reliably coded, would request they contact either the SCR team or UKTC through datastandards@nhs.net. The original code that was recorded by the clinician is always held in the patient record and so such anomalies in coding can be corrected.

Can you explain the Drug Dictionary?

The SNOMED CT UK Drug Extension and how it sits in SNOMED CT is covered in webinar 2. The basis of the SNOMED CT UK Drug Extension is data from the NHS dictionary of medicines and devices (dm+d) released in SNOMED CT format. In full the SNOMED CT UK Drug Extension comprises dm+d derived content, some CTv3 derived content and some unique content. dm+d contains some data items that are not in SNOMED CT because of the nature of SNOMED CT as a terminology. For example price is available in dm+d but not SNOMED CT, however because of the modelling aspects of SNOMED CT trade family name is provided in SNOMED CT but not in dm+d.

The identifiers (ie the codes for the different drugs and medical devices) are the same in both formats (i.e. SNOMED CT Concept Identifiers).

Are we required to change our registration with TRUD to receive the updates for SNOMED?

No, the license you sign covers you for future updates to SNOMED CT. If you have not signed up to the SNOMED CT license you will need to agree to that license but this does not require you to change log on details unless aspects of your information such as organisation or location information have changed. If there are changes to the license conditions for future releases will you be asked to sign up to a new license. When you return to TRUD and log in you will find that you have a list of subscriptions which indicates the licenses you have agreed to. You will be able to download the files whenever you wish.


This has been useful but I was wondering if there is likely to be a radiology specific webinar please? I can see specific radiology challenges.

We can look into this and maybe the do something in collaboration with the Association.