The German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) has joined SNOMED International in order to roll-out national use of SNOMED CT, it has been announced. From 1 January 2021, German users will be able register for a free sub-license to the database from the BfArM.
WHY IT MATTERS
SNOMED CT – which stands for Systemised Nomenclature of Medicine–Clinical Terms – is a comprehensive clinical terminology, a standardised language for accurately coding healthcare at every point. With over 350,000 concepts, the terminology ranges from diagnosis to surgical and therapeutic procedures to symptoms and observables to pharmaceutical products and physical objects. It enables users to record and exchange patient data more accurately, both locally and across borders, ultimately improving patient care journeys.
With the BfArM’s new membership to SNOMED International, the not-for-profit that manages the nomenclature database, it will provide free sub-licensing to the terminology to any German institution or specialist group in the healthcare sector. It is hoped that national usage of SNOMED CT will improve health and medical research and data analytics platforms in the country.
THE LARGER PICTURE
SCOMED International currently works with 40 member countries, including 22 within Europe. By joining, Germany will enhance the interoperability of its healthcare by bringing its clinical language in line with that used internationally.
Germany’s membership follows a limited pilot scheme that took place in 2020, which enabled select research participants access to SNOMED CT, as well as sporadic incidences of public good licenses over the years to German researchers, academics and clinicians.
The news comes shortly after the UK announced its upcoming Digital Terminology Server, backed by Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, that will translate clinical and administrative code between coding languages including SNOMED CT. The UK also recently doubled-down on its commitment to GMDN for its new medical device information system in a break from the EU agenda.
ON THE RECORD
BfArM President Prof. Dr. Karl Broich said of the new development: “With SNOMED CT, the digitisation of the healthcare system in Germany continues. As an international standardised health terminology, SNOMED CT is an important prerequisite for the reliable use and exchange of medical data from various sources to enable clinical and research activities. This is how we accelerate innovative developments and deliver new types of care options more quickly to patients.”
Don Sweete, CEO of SNOMED International commented: “With our global circumstance, 2021 is a year to showcase the power delivered by digital health. Furthering Germany’s digital health goals, SNOMED International membership will enable German users nationally to take advantage of augmented content areas such as Social Care and Social Determinants of Health, Genomics, Vaccines, and Devices. Due to SNOMED CT’s polyhierarchical structure, Germany will be able to leverage SNOMED CT to engage in leading edge research and data analytics.”