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SNOMED CT in pathology.

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Pathology Dept., Hospital General Universitario de Ciudad Real, Ciudad Real, Spain.


Pathology information systems have been using SNOMED II for many years, and in most cases, they are in a migration process to SNOMED CT. COST Action IC0604 (EURO-TELEPATH) has considered terminology normalization one of its strategic objectives. This paper reviews the use of SNOMED CT in healthcare, with a special focus in pathology. Nowadays, SNOMED CT is mainly used for concept search and coding of clinical data. Some ontological errors found in SNOMED CT are described. The Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) initiative has fostered the use of SNOMED CT, also in Pathology, as recommended in the Supplement Anatomic Pathology Structured Reports of the IHE Anatomic Pathology Technical Framework. Rule governing concept post-coordination is also described. Some recent initiatives are trying to define a SNOMED CT subset for Pathology. The Spanish Society of Pathology has defined a subset for specimens and procedures in Pathology. Regarding diagnosis coding, the morphological abnormality sub-hierarchy of SNOMED CT need to be significantly extended and improved to become useful for pathologists. A consensus is needed to encode pathology reports with the adequate hierarchies and concepts. This will make the implementation of pathology structured reports more feasible.

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