Skip Navigation Bar

Unified Medical Language System® (UMLS®)

Nursing Problem List Subset of SNOMED CT


Nursing Problem List Subset FileDerived from SNOMED CT International Release versionDerived from UMLS Metathesaurus versionNumber of Concepts

January 2012 



July 2010 

2010AB 368


The SNOMED CT® encoded Nursing Problem List Subset, intended for use in patients’ problem lists, is an output of the Unified Medical Language System® (UMLS®) Metathesaurus® that is based on nursing diagnosis concepts found within the Metathesaurus.

Purpose and use of subset
The main purpose of the Nursing Problem List Subset of SNOMED CT is to facilitate the use of SNOMED CT as the primary coding terminology for nursing problems used in care planning, problem lists or other summary level clinical documentation.

The use of a common list of SNOMED CT concepts will maximize data interoperability among institutions. Local problem list vocabularies often need to expand to satisfy specific user needs. Institutions that are using their own nursing problem list vocabularies are encouraged to map them to SNOMED CT with a focus on these nursing diagnosis concepts to facilitate data interoperability. The UMLS Terminology Services (UTS) includes a SNOMED CT browser that may be used for this purpose. The SNOMED CT Browser is available through the SNOMED CT menu of the UTS.

Choice of SNOMED CT concepts
To find the most appropriate SNOMED CT concepts for each problem list term, the following guidelines are used:

  • Only current SNOMED CT concepts are included (concept status = 0).
  • Concepts belonging to the Non-Human Subset are excluded.
  • Most concepts are chosen from the SNOMED CT clinical finding hierarchy.

Additional resources from the UMLS
For each SNOMED CT concept in the subset, the corresponding UMLS CUI (concept unique identifier) is listed. By using these identifiers, users can access resources available in the UMLS e.g., additional synonyms (beyond those present in SNOMED CT itself), text definitions for many terms, corresponding codes in other terminologies, etc.

File description
The SNOMED CT Nursing Problem List Subset data file has the following fields:

  • SNOMED_CONCEPT_ID – conceptId of the SNOMED CT concept
  • SNOMEDCT_FN – SNOMED CT fully-specified name
  • UMLS_CUI – the corresponding UMLS concept identifier - if concept is not yet in the UMLS this will be listed as NA (not available)
  • UMLS_SEMANTIC_TYPE – the corresponding UMLS semantic type provides consistent categorization of UMLS concepts at a general level
  • SNOMEDCT_STATUS – concept status of the SNOMED CT concept

The file identifies what we hope is a useful Nursing Problem List Subset of SNOMED CT, but does not include all the information likely to be required to make effective use of SNOMED CT in an application, such as synonyms that may include more clinician-friendly terms than the SNOMED CT fully-specified name. The identifiers in the file can be used to extract more complete information for these concepts from either the UMLS release files or the SNOMED CT native format files.

Update and maintenance
A new version of the Subset will be published for each new release of the UMLS. Newly retired SNOMED CT concepts will be flagged and additional concepts may be added if appropriate.

SNOMED CT license requirement
SNOMED CT is owned by the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO), of which NLM is the US Member. Use of SNOMED CT is subject to the IHTSDO Affiliate license provisions ( incorporated in the License Agreement for Use of the UMLS® Metathesaurus® as Appendix 2) and is free in IHTSDO Member countries including the United States, in low income countries, and for approved research projects in any country.

Feedback and suggestions
We welcome any questions, comments or suggestions that would improve the quality, accuracy and usability of the subset. Please send feedback to Vivian Auld, National Library of Medicine (email:

The IHTSDO Nursing Work Group Problem List Project Team thanks the IHTSDO, the IHTSDO Nursing Work Group, and the NLM for their participation in and support of this project.