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SNOMED Clinical Terms® (SNOMED CT®)


SNOMED CT (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine--Clinical Terms) is a comprehensive clinical terminology, originally created by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and, as of April 2007, owned, maintained, and distributed by the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO), a not-for-profit association in Denmark. The CAP continues to support SNOMED CT operations under contract to the IHTSDO and provides SNOMED-related products and services as a licensee of the terminology.

The NLM is the U.S. Member of the IHTSDO and, as such, distributes SNOMED CT at no cost in accordance with the Member rights and responsibilities outlined in the IHTSDO's Articles. The IHTSDO's uniform international license terms for SNOMED CT will replace the U.S.-wide license terms NLM negotiated with the CAP in 2003, giving U.S. users broader rights to distribute derivative products internationally. The new license terms have been incorporated into the License for Use of the UMLS Metathesaurus.

Licensees of the UMLS Metathesaurus have access to SNOMED CT (both English and Spanish versions) in multiple formats - as part of the UMLS Metathesaurus, where it is linked to many other biomedical terminologies and natural language processing tools. Additionally UMLS licensees will now have free access to SNOMED CT in its native file formats downloaded directly from the UTS. The IHTSDO license terms for SNOMED CT cover use and distribution worldwide, but fees may be applicable outside IHTSDO Member countries. A list of current member countries and information on becoming a member country is available on the IHTSDO website.

SNOMED CT is one of a suite of designated standards for use in U.S. Federal Government systems for the electronic exchange of clinical health information and is also a required standard in interoperability specifications of the U.S. Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel. SNOMED CT is also being implemented internationally as a standard within other IHTSDO Member countries.

Additional Information:

For more information users should contact NLM Customer service at

Last Reviewed: March 8, 2016