This video gives an introduction to the SNOMED CT concepts and their dedicated Snow Owl icons.

Once you’ve seen the video, you can find additional documentation at:

You might also be interested in our videos about browsing the SNOMED terminology and examining its concepts:



In this video, I would like to introduce you to the top-level concepts of the SNOMED CT terminology and show you how we represent them in Snow Owl. If you are already familiar with SNOMED CT, you might want to skip this video and go to the next video which will show you how to do searches.

Since we’re going to do mostly browsing, I will start with the browsing perspective that we created in the “Customizing your Snow Owl interface” video but from time to time we’ll go back to the authoring perspective which is this default perspective.

Let’s go to the custom-made perspective. There you can see the SNOMED CT concepts view and by default you will only see the nineteen top-level concepts which are here and the root concept.

SNOMED CT is pretty big. If you hover over a concept, a tooltip will appear and it will display the number of children so we’ll have 305.011 concepts within the terminology. If you hover over the other ones, you can see how big they are so some are bigger than others. This one is a small one. Procedure is a very big one. Clinical findings obviously.

This symbol here indicates the terminology. Let me go back to the authoring perspective where we have the other terminologies, so this little medical bag is for SNOMED CT. The life preserver indicates ATC. The target ICD-10, and the target with the little Australian flag is the Australian modification. So each of the terminologies has its own icon and that’s quite useful because if you open a concept in the editor, you see the icon will appear in the tab and you can see – let me open one from SNOMED CT as well – the underlying terminology from each of these concepts by looking at the icon.

Let’s go back to the browsing perspective and close the editors. The icons that we chose for each of the top-level concepts will be displayed as well for their children – we’ve already talked about this a bit in the previous video, I just wanted to remind you – so you can always see which type of concept you’re working with no matter where you are in the terminology and in different parts of the user interface. The Eye represents body structures which are normal and abnormal body structures. The abnormal ones are in this sub-hiearchy, morphologically altered structures and let’s just open one of them “Aquired body structures,” or “Anatomical structures” and you see here different parts of the body.

You see these little blue bookmarks that means that I’ve bookmarked this concept before and I’ll show you how this works in the authoring perspective. There’s a bookmarks view with the icons that are bookmarked, so you see like anatomical structure has been bookmarked and it shows up here. How it works is you just go to a concept, that you want to bookmark and
you right click it for the context menu, you go to “add bookmark” and you can enter a description if you want to and it shows up down here now which is the body space structure that I’ve just bookmarked.

If you want to delete one, you just right-click it again and you go to “delete” and then – let’s delete the same one, so that you can actually see it – delete it now you see the little symbol disappeared. So that’s quite useful because then you can access them very easily and open them up in the editor and you don’t have to find them again. I go back to browsing. Remember when you want to close the terminology again and just display the top-level concepts there is this little button that you can use which I will do now.

Okay, the next one is a huge category. It’s the Clinical Findings with over 98.000 children. It comprises the outcomes of clinical observation, assessment, judgement as well as normal and abnormal states. Clinical states that are necessarily abnormal are “Diseases” which is this category and let’s just take one of them and you can set it again as a root concept if you just want to look at a particular point at the hierarchy.

Let’s go to the next one which is “Environment or geographical locations.” They’re indicated by a globe icon.

These are different types of environments as well as geographical and political regions. Environment is anything that is related to healthcare,
hospital environments, geographical environments, places. Let me open one of them and then here you have a lot of countries. That’s like an atlas.

The next one “Events” is the calendar icon and these are occurrences such as accidents, travel events, environmental events, so we can open one of them just to give you an idea. Let’s do environmental events. Avalanche, earthquake, fog.

The next one is the magnifying glass. It’s “Observable entities”, so entities that can be measured or observed and let’s look at the first one that’s for instance “age at first symptom at diagnosis,” blood pressure is in this category, body temperature, so think of just everything that can be measured and observed so it’s quite a bit.

The happy amoeba or ghost is easy to recognize. It’s for organisms, so everything you can think of in the animal kingdom, plants, algae, microorganisms, fungi is in this category so you can find your dog here if you want to or your plant at home.

The next one is pharmaceutical or biological products, so these are drug products, everything you can buy in the pharmacy. It has to be distinguished from the “Substance” hierarchy which is further down here. It’s actually the very last one. So these are actual products while in the substance category are chemical constituents used in pharmaceutical products, these are represented in this hierarchy. Here you can look what you have in your pharmacy, in your medical box. You can, for instance find antiallergenic drugs, antihistamines and it goes down to the different products. It has a capsule icon.

“Physical force”, the thunder cloud, is different kinds of physical influences that are connected to injury, explosion, radiation and mechanical stress. I can open one of them. Magnetism. All kinds of forces you can think of.

The next one I like to call it the department store category. It’s “Physical objects”. It’s everything you can buy in the department store devices, hospital furniture, fastening, this is all kinds of belts and buckles, instruments as well as clothing, vehicles, you can find the Snowmobile here for instance so it’s all kinds of physical objects.

The large hierarchy, we’ve alredy talked about is “Procedure.” As you can see it’s really big, it takes the whole screen. It’s about activities in the healthcare sector. They can be administrative, invasive, diagnostic activities. There are also educational procedures in there as well as referrals. We picked a drill to symbolize this category and then it’s broken up by method, by priority, by site so it’s really huge.

The next one is the scale. It’s the so-called “Qualifier value”. These are concepts used as values for other SNOMED CT attributes. For example, the values for specifying the laterality of a fracture are contained here.

If I go to “Spatial and relational concepts”, for instance, then to “Relative sites” and to “Sidedness” here you can find them left-sided, right-sided. So all kinds of values.

“Record artefact” is much smaller. These are documents that were created to provide information about healthcare related events or states of affairs. For example, if we look at “Record types” you have “Patient record type” so you would find anesthesia records here,
birth certificates, these kind of things.

We have a little camera. “Situation with explicit context”, the house icon are concepts that specify the circumstances of a procedure all the circumstances of finding or conditions so for example, that can be conditions in the past, like an injection that was given or in the future if you are awaiting something, findings that can be ruled out, information about someone other than the patient, for example family history so everything about the context of something.

The SNOMED CT Model Component: In this hierarchy you will find metadata, linkage, namespaces and modules for example the the national extensions, linkage concepts.

The person represents “Social context”. These are social aspects that may influence health and treatment of a patient such as the social status, the ethnic group, religion, lifestyle, family, occupation, so everything if you think of sociology. These are the terms here. You can even find the Batman in this category and we gave him a special symbol. If you’re curious you can check it out yourself.

“Special concepts” has the gift symbol. Those are inactive concepts, outdated concepts as well as navigational concepts.

The drop represents “Specimens”, everything that was acquired for examination or analysis. Blood samples, genetic samples, environmental swabs, these kind of things. So you see, there’s quite a lot here.

“Staging and scales”, you can already see this is something related to to measuring. There are different instruments for testing and
scaling, assessment scales, rating systems, tumor staging, symptom readings are here as well. If you open the assessment scales you can see the different tests, questionnaires that exist different tools.

So the last one is “Substance.” I’ve already talked about this. It’s a beaker symbol like chemists use, so think of chemistry. Here you can find substances and chemical constituents that are used for pharmaceutical and biological products. Diclofenac, Melatonin, Swimming pool water, different kinds of oil, so a wide category of substances. That was just a brief overview of this vast terminology.

There are other icons for other terminologies as well which we won’t go through but if you’re curious, you can check them out as well, you see there are different icons for the termoniologies, let me just show you this one. That’s it. Diseases of the digestive system. There is a burger. So it’s a easier to understand what’s in these categories.

The next video will be about doing searches.