SNOMED CT standard ontology based on the ontology for general medical science

BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 76 (18):1-19 (2018)
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Background: Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine—Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT, hereafter abbreviated SCT) is acomprehensive medical terminology used for standardizing the storage, retrieval, and exchange of electronic healthdata. Some efforts have been made to capture the contents of SCT as Web Ontology Language (OWL), but theseefforts have been hampered by the size and complexity of SCT. Method: Our proposal here is to develop an upper-level ontology and to use it as the basis for defining the termsin SCT in a way that will support quality assurance of SCT, for example, by allowing consistency checks ofdefinitions and the identification and elimination of redundancies in the SCT vocabulary. Our proposed upper-levelSCT ontology (SCTO) is based on the Ontology for General Medical Science (OGMS). Results: The SCTO is implemented in OWL 2, to support automatic inference and consistency checking. Theapproach will allow integration of SCT data with data annotated using Open Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) Foundryontologies, since the use of OGMS will ensure consistency with the Basic Formal Ontology, which is the top-levelontology of the OBO Foundry. Currently, the SCTO contains 304 classes, 28 properties, 2400 axioms, and 1555annotations. It is publicly available through the bioportal at Conclusion: The resulting ontology can enhance the semantics of clinical decision support systems and semanticinteroperability among distributed electronic health records. In addition, the populated ontology can be used forthe automation of mobile health applications.

Author's Profile

Francesco Franda
University at Buffalo (PhD)


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