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SNOMED                                        by Dr. Roz Seymour

In a special report Baldwin (Sept., 2000) describes how important language consistency is when using computers in healthcare.

He focuses on the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine (SNOMED). Baldwin (2000) calls SNOMED the key to the true potential of the computer-based patient record (CPR). A standard vocabulary gives researchers, and other data aggregators, the advantage of consistency in patient problem identification.

SNOMED was designed and is managed by the College of American Pathologist in Illinois.

Its latest version, SNOMED RT, contains more than 120,000 concepts linked to 190,000 synonyms terms. It also includes over 340,000 relationships enabling one to search and retrieve clinical case information based on any number of criteria. Because it is coded, and if all 2000 cancer centers in the US were linked and using it -- just imagine how much research could be done.

(Baldwin, G. (Sept., 2000). A flurry of terms but not many users. Health Data Management, pp. 52-60)

Simply putting medical content in front

of a patient does not make them a

self—care specialist.