SNOMED CT is a clinical vocabulary used within a clinical system to ensure that data is entered into patient records consistently. The vocabulary covers content such as diagnoses, interventions, symptoms, allergies and family history.

Currently there are three vocabularies for clinical systems in use across the NHS: Read Codes v2, Read Codes v3 (also known as Clinical Terms Version 3 or CTV3) and SNOMED CT. However, Read Code v2 contains errors and Read Code v3 is increasingly seen as outdated. With its extended vocabulary, SNOMED CT is more suited to modern applications and is becoming the new international standard in clinical vocabulary. In June 2016, the NHS announced its decision to adopt SNOMED CT as its single standard vocabulary.

The nationwide use of a consistent vocabulary enables reporting and clinical decision support to function reliably and makes it easier to share data electronically between care settings. The move to SNOMED CT will therefore facilitate joined up healthcare and interoperability between different clinical systems.

Systems used by NHS primary care service providers must adopt SNOMED CT as their clinical terminology standard before 1st April 2018.

NHS Digital and Microtest are now working collaboratively to ensure a smooth transition to SNOMED CT. We will keep all Microtest customers informed of progress over the coming months.

You can find full details on the move to SNOMED CT on the NHS Digital website at http://systems.digital.nhs.uk/gpsoc/snomedct.

NHS Digital is also running free monthly live webinars to give training to NHS staff in how to use SNOMED CT. These and other training resources can be found at http://systems.digital.nhs.uk/data/uktc/training.

If Microtest customers have any queries or concerns about the move to SNOMED CT, please call the Helpdesk on 0845 345 1608 and we will do our best to help.

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