In March 2016, SNOMED International and the DICOM Standards Committee signed a SNOMED CT Licensing Agreement. This was the first agreement between the two organizations, clarifying the use of SNOMED CT in DICOM standards and how the SNOMED CT content should be managed over time. The SNOMED CT Licensing Agreement is for 5 years.
In 2021, SNOMED International and DICOM formally extended their longstanding agreement to publish a SNOMED CT Freeset of coded concepts in the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) Standard.
The renewed SNOMED CT Licensing Agreement covers the use of an agreed set of 7,000+ SNOMED CT codes and descriptions in DICOM standards. The agreed SNOMED CT set is updated once annually in line with the July SNOMED CT international release, taking into account changes to SNOMED CT and any requests for changes from the DICOM Standards Committee.
Of key importance is that the agreed SNOMED CT set is free for use by both DICOM and implementers of DICOM standards globally. If, however, implementers use additional SNOMED CT content (outside scope of the agreed set), they are subject to SNOMED CT licensing arrangements which may incur a fee in SNOMED International non-Member countries.
The DICOM freeset is now available as part of SNOMED International's Global Patient Set. The GPS is a managed collection of existing reference sets, available to any user at no cost. 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.
The DICOM Standards Committee have been using SNOMED CT in their standards for many years (through an agreement with the College of American Pathologists) but usage has been largely based on antecedent versions. The agreed set is based on SNOMED CT International Release which will aid existing implementers to migrate over time – SNOMED International has not set a timeline on the migration for users of the standards since many of the codes are hardcoded into software in the digital imaging systems.