Canada's EHR initiatives to benefit from SNOMED CT terminology standard

    TORONTO, April 26 /CNW Telbec/ - Common standards are a requirement for
Canada's drive to establish electronic health records (EHRs) and the recent
acquisition of SNOMED CT by an international standards organization will allow
Canadians to benefit from access to this comprehensive, clinical healthcare
terminology standard.
    Canada is one of the nine charter countries that have established the
International Health Terminology Standards Development Organization (IHTSDO)
to acquire SNOMED CT from the College of American Pathologists - other charter
nations include Australia, Denmark, Lithuania, New Zealand, Sweden, The
Netherlands, the United States and the United Kingdom. By acquiring the
standard, IHTSDO is ensuring its maintenance, development, quality assurance
and distribution on a global scale. Canada, as a charter member, will be
represented on the organization's management board by Canada Health Infoway.
    "This is an important first step forward in ensuring the sustainability
of a standard that will provide long term benefits to the establishment of an
interoperable pan-Canadian EHR," said Richard Alvarez, Infoway's president and
chief executive officer. "This is an opportunity to move forward in the domain
of health informatics standards for both Canada and, indeed, for all nations
working towards EHRs. Infoway is very honoured to be representing Canada in
such a worthwhile endeavour."
    In Canada, SNOMED CT will be available through the Infoway Standards
Collaborative which will be setting up a National Product Centre to provide a
central point for managing, distributing, supporting and monitoring the use of
this standard and related assets. More information on the standard and its
availability in Canada will be posted in the coming weeks on Infoway's website
( Persons requiring further details can e-mail the
Standards Collaborative Infodesk at
    SNOMED CT (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine-Clinical Terms) has been
recommended by Canada Health Infoway's Clinical Terminology Integration (CTI)
pan-Canadian Standards Group (pCSG) as the best choice of terminology for
24 priority clinical information groupings (or sub-domains) of the core
interoperable EHR.
    SNOMED CT will offer significant benefits as its common terms for
clinical messaging can help ensure up-to-date patient data is available to
healthcare providers, enable more complete and accurate diagnosing,
prescribing and faster access to appropriate treatment, allow healthcare
resources to be managed more efficiently to deliver better quality care, and
improve patient safety thanks to more accurate patient records.
    The IHTSDO has been established under Danish law as a not-for-profit
organization and will be headquartered in Copenhagen. Membership is open to
all countries and there is a provision for sponsored use in developing

    About SNOMED CT

    SNOMED was started in 1965 as SNOP (systematized nomenclature of
pathology), and later extended into other medical fields. SNOMED CT
(Systematized NOmenclature of MEdicine-Clinical Terms) was a joint development
between the NHS in England and the College of American Pathologists (CAP) to
develop an international clinical terminology and was formed in 1999 by the
convergence of SNOMED RT and the United Kingdom's Clinical Terms Version 3
(formerly known as the Read Codes).

    About Canada Health Infoway

    Infoway is an independent not-for-profit organization that invests with
public sector partners across Canada to implement and reuse compatible health
information systems, which support a safer, more efficient healthcare system.
Fully respecting patient confidentiality, these private and secure systems
provide healthcare professionals with rapid access to complete and accurate
patient information, enabling better decisions about diagnosis and treatment.
The result is a sustainable healthcare system offering improved quality,
accessibility and productivity.

For further information:

For further information: Cindy Hoffman, Canada Health Infoway, (514)
397-7335, 1-866-868-0550,

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