SNOMED CT Worldwide
Comprehensive, Scalable, Flexible and Translatable
SNOMED CT has a broad coverage of health-related topics. It can be used to describe a patient's medical history, the details of an orthopedic procedure, the spread of epidemics, and much more. At the same time, the terminology has an unmatched depth, which enables clinicians to record data at the appropriate level of granularity.
The number of concepts in SNOMED CT continues to grow, and the July 2016 release had 321,901 active concepts.
Specific applications tend to focus on a restricted set of SNOMED CT, such as terms related to ophthalmology. These "subsets" can be used to present relevant parts of the terminology, depending on the clinical context and local requirements. This means that a drop-down list to select diagnoses in an electronic health record in a mental health facility can be tailored to that setting. Similarly, subsets can be developed to provide appropriate medication lists for nurses in community care.
The opposite is also true. When individual jurisdictions have needs beyond those that can be reflected in a global terminology, perhaps referencing provisions in local legislation, they can develop local or national extensions. Thus, even though SNOMED CT is global in scope, it can be adapted to each country's requirements.
SNOMED CT also works to provide explicit links (cross maps) to health-related classifications and coding schemes in use around the world, e.g. diagnosis classifications such as ICD-9-CM, ICD-O3, and ICD-10, as well as the OPCS-4 classification of interventions. Additional cross-maps are also under development or consideration. Crossmaps facilitate reuse of SNOMED CT-encoded data for other purposes, such as reimbursement or statistical reporting.