SNOMED CT (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine -- Clinical Terms)

SNOMED CT (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine -- Clinical Terms) is a standardized, multilingual vocabulary of clinical terminology that is used by physicians and other health care providers for the electronic exchange of clinical health information.

According to the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organization (IHTSDO), which distributes the standard, SNOMED CT currently contains more than 300,000 medical concepts, divided into hierarchies as diverse as body structure, clinical findings, geographic location and pharmaceutical/biological product. Each concept is represented by an individual number and several concepts can be used simultaneously to describe a complex condition.


By using numbers to represent medical concepts, SNOMED CT provides a standard by which medical conditions and symptoms can be referred, eliminating the confusion that may result from the use of regional or colloquial terms. The numerical reference system also facilitates the exchange of clinical information among disparate health care providers and electronic medical records (EMR) systems.

SNOMED CT was initially developed by the College of American Pathologists and England’s National Health Service. Since April 2007 it has been the purview of the IHTSDO, based in Denmark. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is America’s member of the IHTSDO. The NLM distributes SNOMED CT in the US at no charge.

This was last updated in May 2010
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Email Alerts

Register now to receive news, tips and more, delivered to your inbox.
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

More News and Tutorials

Do you have something to add to this definition? Let us know.

Send your comments to

Join the conversation Comment



    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.