Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2012;2012:819-27. Epub 2012 Nov 3.

Competing interpretations of disorder codes in SNOMED CT and ICD.

Author information

  • 1Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics and Documentation, Med. University Graz, Austria.


Under ontological scrutiny we have identified two competing interpretations of disorder concepts in SNOMED. Should codes be interpreted as representing pathological conditions themselves or the situations in which a patient has those conditions? This difference has significant implications for the proposed harmonization between SNOMED CT and the new ICD-11 disease classification and indeed for any systematic review of the correctness of the SNOMED CT hierarchies. Conditions themselves are distinct, whereas in any given situation a patient may have more than one condition. In such cases, SNOMED codes that represent combinations of conditions - which can be regarded as "additive" - are evidence for interpreting the codes as referring to situations. There are clearly some such codes. We conducted a survey to determine the extent of this phenomenon. Three criteria were used - analysis of the SNOMED CT fully specified name, the corresponding logical definition, and the children of the concept under scrutiny. All three showed that at least 11% of concepts met our criteria for representing situations rather than conditions, with a satisfactory inter-rater reliability for the first two. We, therefore, conclude that if a uniform interpretation of SNOMED disorder codes is desired, they should be interpreted as representing situations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (2)Free text

Figure 1.
Figure 2.
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk