Last year, SNOMED International announced it would transition to more frequent releases of the SNOMED CT International Edition rather than just twice a year. Since January 2022, the organization has released the clinical terminology at the end of each month.
 
Consuming the release on a monthly basis is not required, however, as Members can continue on a biannual schedule if they so choose – there are numerous benefits to being able to access SNOMED CT more frequently. Frequent releases support better interoperability, as organizations and entities can now consume release content that is more aligned with other organizations, for example. As well, it makes it easier to complete smaller projects. 
 
January to July 2022 frequent release highlights
Some of the highlights of the types of new content included in the monthly release packages over the past six months are:
  • Contributions from a number of our collaboration partners, such as 
    • the inclusion of new Social Determinants of Health clinical findings for the Gravity Project 
    • the addition of American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) allowable values for tumor staging following a new licensing agreement between the AJCC and SNOMED International and inactivations of outdated findings; 
    • additional new nursing procedure concepts; 
    • additional content for the ICD-11 update;
    • completion of a map from the SNOMED CT International release to ICD-10 (2016 version)
  • continued implementation of SNOMED International’s Quality Initiative, designed to improve internal structural consistency and ensure compliance with editorial policy related to the stated modeling of content;
  • inactivation of concepts in the international release referring to "legal" and "illegal" termination of pregnancy (abortion) due to non-conformance to editorial policy. Those concepts have been replaced by concepts agnostic as to the legality of the procedure; and
  • the revision and addition of new concepts related to Monkeypox.
 
SNOMED International Release Manager Andrew Atkinson says he expects the uptake of the monthly releases to continue to grow as more users become more aware of the benefits. “The availability of frequent releases has proven to be increasingly popular with our Managed Service users in particular, as it offers them the ability to upgrade their national extensions more regularly,” he reports. “As these users and others (non Managed Service users) learn more about how frequent delivery enables them to better manage their workloads, we expect to see a steadily increasing embrace of SNOMED CT on a more regular basis.”
 
Eventually, he adds, SNOMED International will extend the scope of the current automated functionality to allow Managed Service products to be released more frequently as well. “Once the work has been completed to enable this to happen, they’ll then have even more scope to deploy deliverables such as their drug extensions on a more frequent schedule,” he says.
 
Monthly releases of SNOMED CT will continue to be made available from the Member Licensing and Distribution Service (MLDS.)  MLDS contains SNOMED International releases, both Production and Alpha (technology previews), available for Members to download. 
 
Do you have more questions? Contact us at releases@snomed.org.
 
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