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SNOMED CT Terminology

The current series of clinical codes (within systems such as OPCS and ICD10) and cosmetic surgery terminology does not accurately reflect the range of cosmetic surgical procedures being undertaken. We have been working closely with the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) and the surgical specialty associations to refine clinical terminology (within SNOMED CT) and its links with coding systems (OPCS/ICD 10). This is to make sure that an agreed, clinically relevant set of terminology, is available to describe cosmetic surgical procedures. This common language can then be used within electronic health record systems, to support improved communication and to provide information of sufficient granularity to support audit and quality improvement. 

We recommend that SNOMED CT and the new cosmetic surgery subsets are used as the terminology of choice within your electronic health record system. This will ensure clearer and more consistent communication between different parts of the healthcare system. It will also allow for improved ability to extract activity data that accurately reflects practice as SNOMED terms link with the codes within OPCS and ICD10. 

New defined terms and associated codes for selected procedures were published in SNOMED CT in April 2016. Further terms for additional procedures will be published in the autumn.

Read more about the work the College is doing to improve surgical data here.

Further information or questions...



Call 0207 869 6119 to speak with a member of the project team


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