top of page

Broadening international patient care and interoperability with the GPS

September 30, 2020

First launched in September 2019, SNOMED International has issued its second release of the Global Patient Set (GPS) to support health system interoperability.  A slice of SNOMED CT, the GPS is a managed collection of existing reference sets, available to any user at no cost. It's positioned to support cross border interoperability and enhanced digital maturity as users move towards decision support and full analytics capabilities in their respective strategies. Met with great success with its inaugural release, the 2019 year saw over 500 downloads of the GPS from a variety of interested parties worldwide. 

The GPS enables easier specification of EHR requirements, e.g. a patient summary, and results in improved interoperability. While the GPS offers non-Members considering SNOMED CT use a mechanism for greater insight into the product and its value without requiring initial investment, the GPS as a whole is not a clinically curated list; it excludes SNOMED CT’s inherent relationships and hierarchies; fundamental to the nature of an ontology and its ability to enable clinical data analytics, decision support, and power artificial intelligence, etc.  

September 2020 Release

The GPS offers clinical content across dentistry, renal, family & general practice and nursing areas, and includes IHE, DICOM and HL7 International Patient Summary (IPS) domains and activities.  Of particular relevance, the IPS is a minimal and non-exhaustive patient summary dataset containing essential healthcare information for use in the unscheduled, cross-border care scenario, as well as for local, regional and other care scenarios.  SNOMED CT content supports the HL7 IPS and also the terminology to underpin the CEN European Standard for the Patient Summary.  Through the GPS, these SNOMED CT terms are available free for use in HL7 CDA R2 implementations and FHIR IPS Implementations Guides worldwide, supporting the joint goal of cross border sharing and reuse of information. 

In terms of newly added content, in March 2020, the World Health Organization formally characterized Coronavirus, COVID-19, as a global pandemic and health systems worldwide are continuing their efforts to manage the outbreak.  COVID-19 content included in the January 2020 release was subsequently updated in March 2020 with SNOMED International issuing an elective release falling outside of its customary release cycle.  January and updated March COVID-19 content has been added to the scope of the September 2020 GPS release to support the recording and sharing of healthcare data during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Existing and relevant SNOMED CT content has also been added to the GPS and can be referenced at  

SNOMED International is also committed to supporting the reduction of health inequity through developing and managing social determinants of health content within SNOMED CT’s clinical terminology.  To maximize accessibility of this content, SNOMED International has also included a large amount of social determinants of health content within the September 2020 GPS release.

Accessing & Consuming the GPS

Offered under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License, the GPS is available to any interested party at no cost, simply by visiting SNOMED International’s GPS information page and registering your use.

In terms of consuming the GPS, from the 2020 Release onwards, SNOMED International will also be publishing an RF2 formatted package containing the GPS refset content.  This Refset will follow normal RF2 conventions, and will therefore retain a full historical audit trail of all changes to the GPS refset from that point onwards.

Additional Resources

Additional resources including use cases, and implementation guidance are also located on the GPS information page.

bottom of page