SNOMED International and IBM Watson Health have announced that Watson Health will adopt SNOMED CT in support of the company’s commitment to comprehensive standardisation of patient data worldwide.

SNOMED CT serves as an international standard for clinical terminology. It enables a global exchange and analysis of clinical information in electronic health records (EHRs) through a codified language that represents groups of clinical terms.

For example, a medical professional can enter the term ‘myocardial infarction’ into an EHR in multiple ways—as myocardial infarction disorder, cardiac infarction, heart attack, myocardial infarction, and myocardial intact. SNOMED CT is designed to recognise that those terms relate and links them via a common SNOMED CT code, so computing systems like Watson can efficiently and comprehensively identify all references to such terms across disparate types of data and use that data to derive cognitive insights.

“SNOMED’s agreement with IBM Watson Health breaks new ground,” said SNOMED International CEO, Don Sweete.

“Imagine the impact of feeding SNOMED CT’s 325,000+ concepts into Watson’s cognitive capabilities. The possibilities for clients, and the healthcare industry in general, are almost limitless,” continued Sweete.

More than 30 countries have adopted SNOMED CT and it is actively used through agreements with 5,000 affiliates, such as medical libraries and biopharmaceutical companies, extending the reach of its vast collection of structured clinical concepts.

“SNOMED CT presents clinically-relevant concepts and modifiers consistently and comprehensively, providing a ‘global language of healthcare’,” said Vice President of Global Markets for IBM Watson Health, Lisa Rometty.

“Standardising our offerings on SNOMED CT supports our efforts to provide customers and collaborators with clear information to help clinicians as they consider medical decisions and support the efficient delivery of quality care,” concluded Rometty.

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