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Why use SNOMED CT and where do I start?

SNOMED CT is a clinical terminology designed to be an evolving, global terminology focused on clinical use. This ambitious goal is achieved through a combination of SNOMED CT's unique logical design, content covering a wide spectrum of clinical use cases, and a library of resources, technical guides, specifications and software, which together guide and support the adoption of SNOMED CT.


A great starting point in your SNOMED CT adoption journey is the SNOMED CT Starter Guide - also available in GermanPortuguese and Spanish. This guide provides a practical introduction to the benefits of using SNOMED CT, the logical and concept models, the requirements for content development and for the creation of translations and extensions, the role of mappings to other terminologies, and a range of other important topics.

The value of SNOMED CT

As the most comprehensive clinical terminology in use around the world, the implementation and adoption of SNOMED CT can enable a multitude of benefits for health systems globally. SNOMED CT based clinical information benefits different aspects of the healthcare process, including:

  • Enhancing electronic health records

  • Supporting and empowering Individuals

  • Facilitating analysis and management of populations

  • Supporting Evidence Based Healthcare


These benefits are maximized when SNOMED CT is part of a national or regional strategy, that recommends SNOMED as an standard, a component on a digital health architecture that supports data exchange and analysis for clinical research and public health purposes. Countries and territories join SNOMED International as Members in order to provide free access the terminology, guidance, training, and other resources for all local implementations, reducing barriers and promoting adoption.

Read more: SNOMED CT value proposition and use cases  

Getting started as an implementer


Planning your SNOMED CT rollout, whether it is across a country, province or individual hospital, involves considering a range of factors, including:

  • Your current eHealth environment, infrastructure and standards landscape

  • Your broader eHealth roadmap, strategy and/or goals for the future

  • The key objectives in adopting SNOMED CT and potential benefits you are targeting

  • Priority healthcare data issues that could benefit from SNOMED CT adoption

  • Key stakeholders, including NRC staff, clinicians, patients, decision makers, funders, vendors, implementers, researchers, analysts, other users etc.

  • Tooling, staff and other resources required / available

  • Education and training requirements for staff and stakeholders

  • Timelines and schedules for relevant eHealth projects


With these considerations in mind, one of the key decisions in your SNOMED CT implementation roadmap is selecting your first clinical use case for SNOMED CT deployment.

Read more: Preparing for Implementation  

Getting started as a Member


New SNOMED International Members are required to set up a national governance structure for SNOMED CT (i.e. the Member's National Release Center or 'NRC'). The NRC is the official point of contact within a Member's jurisdiction that has the responsibility to serve as the interface between SNOMED International, the national users and Affiliates, and other Members.

The SNOMED CT National Release Center Guide is a resource designed to guide new members through the process of setting up these national structures, describing their roles, responsibilities, and their relationships with end-users and with SNOMED International.

The NRC Onboarding Checklist provides NRCs with a checklist of important activities to get started with SNOMED International, including nominating representatives on our governance and advisory groups, establishing NRC communication resources, and creating new tooling accounts.

Read more: NRC Onboarding Checklist  

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Getting Started - Implementer
Getting Started - Member
Resources and Services
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