SNOMED International, the Thai Health Information Standards Development Centre (THIS), and Health Systems Research Institute (HSRI) are pleased to announce that Thailand has joined the SNOMED CT Community as SNOMED International’s 42nd Member.
Thailand is the tenth country in the Asia Pacific Region, following Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong – China, India, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Republic of Korea and Singapore to join SNOMED International, further extending SNOMED CT use, implementation experience and collaboration opportunities for the region. Effective January 2022, all users in Thailand can register to request a free license for use of SNOMED CT from the country’s National Release Center.
“Although, in the three past decades, many digital health/HIS programs and projects have been initiated and implemented in Thailand, Thailand health information systems are still fragmented and not be able to effectively support the country health care, public health, and health systems. One of the urgent needs of the Thai health systems is the development of national health information architecture and health data standards. They are essential to integrate and interoperate the current fragmented health information systems”, says Dr. Boonchai Kijsanayotin, a HSRI’s senior research manager and a member of the WHO digital health technical advisory group from Thailand.
The past five years have been marked by significant discussion regarding Thailand’s approach to eHealth and digital health, with a degree of narrative focused on how SNOMED CT can play a part in enabling health interoperability across the country. In the 2016 report, eHealth in Thailand: Interoperability and Health Information Standards, THIS proposed that SNOMED CT, assessed to be essential for clinical care, should be studied and considered for implementation. In 2019, to progress interoperability exploration in the region, a group of public and private health IT professionals formed the Standards and Interoperability Lab Thailand (SIL TH), a digital health sandbox with the goal of developing standards-based digital health interoperability platforms for the country. SIL TH is one of the Asia eHealth Information Network’s (AeHIN) Community of Interoperability Labs.
In 2021, the National Reform Commission on Public Health - appointed by the cabinet and the Ministry of Public Health of Thailand identified that the country should prioritize the development of eHealth foundations and develop national health information standards to enable health services and health systems interoperability. Now in 2022, with the adoption of SNOMED CT, Thailand has realized a part of this goal, which will support its plan to deliver health information interoperability across Thailand.
The benefits of becoming a Member
Joining SNOMED International will provide Thailand’s healthcare institutions and organizations with open access to SNOMED CT, the world’s most comprehensive clinical terminology and a recognized critical element for the electronic exchange of health data. Use of SNOMED CT provides distinct benefits for the country’s spectrum of stakeholder groups, ranging from policy-makers to researchers and knowledge producers, implementers, vendors, care providers and patients/citizens. SNOMED CT enables Members to ensure that high-quality clinical information is available to all stakeholders in their country, and supports policy-makers by enabling them to make more informed policy and management decisions. With SNOMED CT, users can record patient data more accurately, and exchange patient data both within the healthcare team and with patients, both locally and across borders, to improve patient outcomes. Further, SNOMED CT can be used in health data and analytics platforms for clinical analytics, population analytics, management analytics, clinical research, applied research, and other research activities to improve health care. Browse the benefits that SNOMED CT delivers its vast stakeholders at value.snomed.org.
There has been active discussion about the evolution of digital health across Asia in recent years. “Thailand has progressively developed and implemented health data standards, predominantly supporting administrative purposes, for the past 25+ years”, says SNOMED International CEO Don Sweete. “Welcoming Thailand as our newest Member, SNOMED International is pleased to join the landscape of messaging and terminology standards needed to build a dynamic and interoperable digital health ecosystem, including HL7 FHIR, Thai Medicines Terminology (TMT), Thai Medical Laboratory Terminology (TMLT) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), to name a few.”
Founded in 2007 by nine charter nations, SNOMED International is a not-for-profit organization that owns and maintains SNOMED CT, the world’s most comprehensive clinical terminology. With over 350,000 concepts, SNOMED CT is not just a coding system of diagnosis. It also covers clinical findings like signs and symptoms and tens of thousands of surgical, therapeutic and diagnostic procedures. Also within the scope of SNOMED CT are observables and those concepts representing body structures, organisms, substances, pharmaceutical products, physical objects, physical forces, specimens, etc. needed to be recorded in or around the health record.
Visit the Thai Health Information Standards Development Center to learn more.
To learn more about SNOMED International, visit snomed.org.