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Standards group looks to accelerate adoption of SNOMED

8 August 2018

The Health Information Standards Organisation is repurposing its SNOMED implementation working group to become the SNOMED Adoption Accelerator NZ and is looking for new projects to support.

HISO is an expert group that sits under the Ministry of Health and SNOMED CT is the most comprehensive clinical terminology product in the world.

MoH director of health information standards Alastair Kenworthy says the group’s aim is to develop the thinking and do the proof of concept work that will accelerate SNOMED adoption, as it is “our most important standard for interoperability in the digital health ecosystem”.

The working group was created a year ago and involves quarterly face-to-face meetings and ongoing virtual contact. It has explored a number of initiatives and taken the thinking forward in key areas around SNOMED adoption.

“This has included creating a beta release New Zealand extension to the SNOMED international edition, developing materials for migrating from Read Codes to SNOMED in primary care, developing patient-friendly terms in SNOMED, and developing approaches to clinical decision support using SNOMED,” he says.

“We now intend to bring some new initiatives into the mix as well as further developing what we've worked on to date. Our purpose is to innovate, motivate and communicate, in order to accelerate specific endeavours involving SNOMED in digital health solutions.”

Kenworthy says the group supports between six and 12 initiatives at a time, with fluid membership reflecting the skills and influence needed. It is inviting proposals from the sector to bring new initiatives to the group.

The accelerator does not offer financial support to projects, but “what we can do is invite them to join our working group for a period of time to enable them to share the very best ideas and experience with others who are doing similar things,” he explains.

“We find that people working in isolation on these things don’t get very far, but if they have the chance to share with people working on similar projects everyone comes away a bit better off.”

A current project is the use of SNOMED in the New Zealand Formulary, which is an online database of all the approved medicines in the country, with guidance for prescribers.

“They are looking to use SNOMED to make it a much smarter resource with information coded so it could be used for clinical decision support for someone prescribing or using the medicine,” Kenworthy says.

The group is also working on introducing some te reo Māori and patient-friendly terms to the New Zealand extension of SNOMED.

“It would be nice to attract people with a particular interest around doing that work into the group,” he says.

“Our job is not to drive the whole SNOMED national adoption programme but to apply our thinking and efforts to opportunities where the returns are highest for minimal outlay.”

Anyone interested can get in contact via email with a proposal.


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