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Long-Standing Collaboration Renewed for Continued Production of SNOMED CT - DICOM Freeset

August 11, 2021

SNOMED International and DICOM have formally extended their longstanding agreement to publish a SNOMED CT Freeset of coded concepts in the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) Standard.

This collaboration agreement, a renewal of the agreement negotiated in 2016, will extend for a 5-year term to July 1, 2026. DICOM has been incorporating SNOMED CT into its Standard for more than 20 years, originally through an agreement with the College of American Pathologists (CAP) before SNOMED CT was undertaken by IHTSDO, now rebranded as SNOMED International.

“This is great news for our collective medical imaging interoperability community,” said Lawrence Tarbox, Co-Chair of the DICOM Standard Committee. “We are thrilled to continue collaboration with SNOMED International with this agreement renewal.”

“This agreement will support the consistent use of standardized clinical terminology within DICOM that will ultimately benefit patient care,” added DICOM General Secretary Carolyn Hull.

This renewed licensing agreement covers the use of an agreed-upon set of 7,000+ SNOMED CT codes and descriptions in the DICOM Standard. The SNOMED CT-DICOM set is updated once annually in line with the July SNOMED CT international release, considering changes to SNOMED CT and any requests for changes from the DICOM Standard Committee.

“Renewal of our joint commitment to enable the use of consistent clinical terminology for imaging purposes is a clear example of the recent interoperability statements issued at the G7 Health Ministers meeting,” stated SNOMED International CEO Don Sweete. “The importance of international health collaboration is at the core of our approach to partnerships, in which DICOM continues to play a vital role.”

The DICOM Freeset is also available as part of SNOMED International's Global Patient Set (GPS), an open product designed to enable the sharing of patient health information coded with SNOMED CT across care settings, systems, and national borders. Supporting the movement of structured clinical terminology and providing options for countries at the beginning of their digital health journey, the GPS is a managed collection of existing reference sets available to any user at no cost and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Including clinical content across dentistry, renal, family and general practice, and nursing areas, the GPS also includes IHE and HL7 International Patient Summary (IPS) domains and activities in addition to DICOM content.

To learn more about this continuously evolving collaboration, please visit the DICOM and SNOMED International websites.  The DICOM SNOMED CT content is available via the SNOMED CT International Edition and also accessible as part of SNOMED International’s Global Patient Set.


DICOM® — Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine — is the international standard for medical images and related information. It defines the formats for medical images that can be exchanged with the data and quality necessary for clinical use.

DICOM® is implemented in almost every radiology, cardiology imaging, and radiotherapy device (X-ray, CT, MRI, ultrasound, etc.), and increasingly in devices in other medical domains such as ophthalmology and dentistry. With hundreds of thousands of medical imaging devices in use, DICOM® is one of the most widely deployed healthcare messaging Standards in the world. There are billions of DICOM® images currently in use for clinical care.

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