There are many benefits of using SNOMED CT in Electronic Health Records including:
- Health information can be shared consistently within and across healthcare settings.
- Data can be organized, queried, and analyzed for the benefit of the individual and institution.
- The risk of different interpretations of the record between different healthcare settings can be reduced.
- Can remove language barriers as it enables multilingual use.
- Updated twice a year to help users keep pace with the advances of healthcare terminology and add to the scope of coverage.
SNOMED CT provides health care professionals the ability to use different terms that mean the same thing when implementing SNOMED CT in their software applications. For example, the terms heart attack, myocardial infarction, and MI may mean the same thing to a cardiologist, but, to a computer, they are all different. There is a need to exchange clinical information consistently. SNOMED CT fills this need by enabling semantic interoperability and by supporting the exchange of clinically validated health data between different health care providers, setting, researchers and others.
In addition to adding value to Electronic Health Records, SNOMED CT provides support for Meaningful Use. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have adopted SNOMED CT as one of the key terminologies for Meaningful Use. SNOMED CT supports the following Meaningful Use Objectives:
- Maintain an up-to-date problem list of current and active diagnoses
- Record patient family health history as structure data
- Identify and report cancer cases to State cancer registries
- Record and track changes in patient vital signs
- Record patient smoking status
- Provide a summary record for each transition of care
There are also several key resources designed to help with the implementation of SNOMED CT. These include subsets that identify the most commonly-used codes and terms; mappings to ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM; and browsers that assist in finding other codes for local customization. For more information on these resources, please see the NLM SNOMED CT page.
Additional information about the benefits of SNOMED CT are described by the IHTSDO, including documentation on Building the Business Case for SNOMED CT.
To learn more about SNOMED CT enabled solutions and benefits, please see the IHTSDO SNOMED CT in Action page.