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J Biomed Inform. 2012 Aug;45(4):613-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jbi.2012.06.005. Epub 2012 Jun 28.

Cross-terminology mapping challenges: a demonstration using medication terminological systems.

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  • 1The University of Texas School of Biomedical Informatics at Houston, 7000 Fannin Suite 600, Houston, TX 77030, USA. hsaitwal@Apelon.com

Erratum in

  • J Biomed Inform. 2012 Dec;45(6):1217.

Abstract

Standardized terminological systems for biomedical information have provided considerable benefits to biomedical applications and research. However, practical use of this information often requires mapping across terminological systems-a complex and time-consuming process. This paper demonstrates the complexity and challenges of mapping across terminological systems in the context of medication information. It provides a review of medication terminological systems and their linkages, then describes a case study in which we mapped proprietary medication codes from an electronic health record to SNOMED CT and the UMLS Metathesaurus. The goal was to create a polyhierarchical classification system for querying an i2b2 clinical data warehouse. We found that three methods were required to accurately map the majority of actively prescribed medications. Only 62.5% of source medication codes could be mapped automatically. The remaining codes were mapped using a combination of semi-automated string comparison with expert selection, and a completely manual approach. Compound drugs were especially difficult to map: only 7.5% could be mapped using the automatic method. General challenges to mapping across terminological systems include (1) the availability of up-to-date information to assess the suitability of a given terminological system for a particular use case, and to assess the quality and completeness of cross-terminology links; (2) the difficulty of correctly using complex, rapidly evolving, modern terminologies; (3) the time and effort required to complete and evaluate the mapping; (4) the need to address differences in granularity between the source and target terminologies; and (5) the need to continuously update the mapping as terminological systems evolve.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:
22750536
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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