Finland Adopts SNOMED Standards For Clinical Terms

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SNOMED International and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) have announced that Finland has joined the organization as its thirty-sixth Member.

SNOMED International is the trading name of the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO), headquartered in London, UK. Founded in 2007, SNOMED is a not-for-profit organization that owns and develops SNOMED CT, the world’s most comprehensive healthcare terminology product.

SNOMED establishes standards for a codified language that represents groups of clinical terms. This enables healthcare information to be exchanged globally for the benefit of patients and other stakeholders. The organization states that it is committed to the rigorous evolution of their products and services, to deliver continuous innovation for the global healthcare community.

THL (National Institute for Health and Welfare, Terveyden ja Hyyvinvoinnin Laitos) is a Finnish Research and Development institute, based in Helsinki, formed in 2009, that aims to address applications of healthcare and scientific research data to help develop solutions to diseases and public health crises. Their overall mission is to promote better population health and help apply scientific knowledge to accomplish this goal. More than 800 articles by THL are published in scientific journals each year. Half of these are international joint articles.

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Finland’s commitment to SNOMED CT sets a foundation for clinical data to be exchanged accurately and consistently across Finnish health and social care settings, further extending the reach of structured clinical terminology throughout the European region.

The first targeted use of SNOMED CT is an obvious one: standardizing the terminology and codes for anatomic pathology in the clinical laboratories. Finnish pathology laboratories have used SNOMED 2 since 1980’s. But lack of coordination eventually resulted in several dialects and variance between hospitals. Now the ongoing project aims at a national reference set to help the biobanks, regional and national quality registers and structured reporting on individual patient basis.

“Finland’s leading-edge digital expertise stems from years as leaders of the information technology and communications industry. Since then, the strong Finnish ICT experience has permeated nearly every industrial sector including health. Digital health technology is certainly one of the most compelling and promising of these fields with the Kanta Service, and Finland’s commitment to adopting SNOMED CT’s clinical terminology to support care delivery, data analysis and research is encouraging.” – SNOMED International CEO, Don Sweete

Sources:

  1. https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/12/19/1669549/0/en/Finland-s-National-Institute-for-Health-and-Welfare-joins-SNOMED-International-as-the-organization-s-36th-Member.html
  2. https://thl.fi/en/web/thlfi-en/about-us
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David is a consultant/medical writer for a number of ongoing healthcare initiatives including for Athla LLC/ HealthLabs, a discovery automation company for Big Data leveraging Big Compute. He has a number of years experience in academic R&D and healthcare related projects including the fields of oncology and immunotherapy.