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A dedicated terminology to support the International Patient Summary

May 5, 2022

Since the date of issue, this information is now out of date and has been archived. It has been made available for reference.

Towards the end of 2021, SNOMED International shared its intention to extend the core of SNOMED CT’s structured clinical terminology to deliver an open, standalone terminology in support of the scope of content within the International Patient Summary (IPS) for non-Members.

The IPS is an electronic health record extract containing essential healthcare information for use in circumstances where citizens may travel from their home country and require unscheduled and unanticipated health care from a different jurisdiction, as well as for local, regional and other care scenarios. It is a minimal, non-exhaustive set of data elements defined by ISO/EN 17269 and delivered by HL7 in both CDA and FHIR using a curated set of SNOMED CT terms.

Readily usable by clinicians, the primary use case for the IPS is to support cross-border and unscheduled patient care. However, it also has the potential to be used in many other scenarios where a patient crosses health information systems, such as travel between provinces/states, cities or organizations that use a different Health Information System and require a summary for immediate care.

Since 2019, and predating the Organization’s IPS Terminology initiative, SNOMED International has made a free set of SNOMED CT codes available (the HL7 IPS free set), as part of its Global Patient Set (GPS) to support the implementation of the HL7 FHIR IPS specification. With a scope that differs from the GPS, a flat list of SNOMED CT codes and terms without hierarchy or relationships, the IPS Terminology will provide implementers with a product that can be used in healthcare solutions using the power of SNOMED CT through its query language and hierarchies for the specified scope of the IPS.

The IPS Terminology is the next evolution of the HL7 IPS free set, providing advanced terminology features for non-Affiliates to use in their IPS implementations. In the first months of 2022, SNOMED International has been configuring its approach to making the IPS Terminology a tangible artifact in its lineup of SNOMED CT-driven products and services. Released in its beta version for focused stakeholder testing and feedback, the IPS Terminology will be accompanied by a User Guide to aid implementers in non-Member regions in their understanding of the features, capabilities, and limitations of the IPS Terminology package.

Providing an overview of the IPS Terminology's scope and features, the Guide will also provide IPS Terminology use cases as well as direction on how to implement the IPS Terminology in a terminology server, and on how to upgrade to a full SNOMED CT edition if additional terminology content is required.

It is worth noting that current SNOMED CT users, those located in a SNOMED International Member region or those with an Affiliate license to a complete SNOMED CT edition, should avoid use of the IPS Terminology and instead, implement their IPS solutions using a full edition of SNOMED CT. To share IPS data with non-Affiliates, licensed users may choose to refer to the IPS Reference Set. This reference set identifies the subset of key concepts from the IPS Terminology and is available as a supplementary package from SNOMED International's MLDS service.  

Contact for information on how to review the IPS Terminology as well as information on the mechanisms and timelines for providing feedback.

To view the IPS Terminology via browser, visit

Subscribe to the Organization’s news service to learn more as this initiative progresses. For additional information, contact

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