National terminology and classification resource including SNOMED CT - Project plan

This document describes the National Board of Health and Welfare’s initial plans for introducing the national terminology and classification resource, particularly SNOMED CT, in Sweden.


Cooperation in establishing a future international concept system for the health and welfare services was one of the basic preconditions when, in the spring of 2007, the Swedish Government decided to actively work for the founding of the International Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO). Sweden will participate in this cooperation in order, on the one hand, to utilise international knowledge and experience and, on the other, to actively contribute to international developments.

The National Board of Health and Welfare has been instructed by the Government to elaborate a national information structure and to draw up, administer and supply a national terminology and classification resource based on the concept system Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine – Clinical Terms (Snomed CT).

The commission is formulated as follows:

The National Board of Health and Welfare shall take overall national and strategic responsibility for ensuring that individual patient- and user-specific information shall become less ambiguous, easier to follow up and more accessible in accordance with the objectives and principles laid down in the Government’s written communication entitled National Strategy for eHealth.

The National Board of Health and Welfare shall supply Snomed CT free of charge to interested parties within the Swedish health and welfare services The Board shall also, in cooperation with the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, encourage and support the introduction and use of the national terminology and classification resource in the health and welfare services.

Ultimately, Snomed CT will be a tool for principals in their endeavours to supply good health and welfare services, that is to say measures and efforts for private individuals pertaining to social services, support and service for disabled people and health care under the applicable laws.

The commission is divided into three main areas:

The National Board of Health and Welfare shall support and encourage the introduction and use of Snomed CT.
• The national terminology and classification resource shall be made known to principals and other target groups.
• Snomed CT shall be usable in Sweden through translation, harmonisation and administration.

However, the project is not responsible for adapting national systems and registers to Snomed CT.

One of the more comprehensive questions at issue for the project is whether or not the Board should draw up rules and guidelines for use of Snomed CT. At present Snomed CT does not cover the social services’ field of activities. An important task is therefore to ensure that Snomed CT is developed in this area.

It is strategically essential to build up knowledge, together with the project’s target groups, about the importance of this major national investment for activities in health and welfare services.

Administration and financing of Snomed CT is a long-term responsibility requiring a process-oriented working method, skills development and continuity. Experience during the project period will also provide basic material for long-term planning.

The project is financed for the period 2007-2011 from funds from the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. A project report will be presented on 31 March 2011.

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Lotti Barlow
075-247 30 00

See also