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5 things you should know about SNOMED

Written by Steve Marriott on 07-Feb-2018 07:48:23


SNOMED is a new clinical coding system that is replacing Read codes. It is the world's most comprehensive and precise clinical coding project.

1. Why do we need it?

The NHS Five Year Forward View describes the need for collaborative healthcare. Working together, clinicians and carers from many parts of the NHS can improve healthcare provision and save time.

Shared care is dependent on 'anywhere, anytime' access to primary care patient records. SNOMED gives the NHS a single set of codes for medicines and clinical terms. In turn, this makes it easier to exchange information and share patient records.

When all healthcare IT systems use the same codes, analysis of population-level healthcare becomes more straightforward too. 

2. How will it affect me?

If you work in general practice and use Vision, the impact is negligible. To minimise disruption, Vision uses dual-coding. You can continue to use Read, and Vision will map these codes to SNOMED in the background.

There won't be any changes to how you:

  • manage QOF
  • find clinical codes
  • add information to patient records
  • maintain your Read formulary
  • use Vision guidelines and Vision+ templates
  • view historical information
  • extract data for local and national reporting

3. When will I start using it?

We are introducing SNOMED over time. The implementation in general practice will begin in April 2018, after the QOF year-end.

4. How do I prepare?

There will be minimal impact if you use Vision. You will not need training. Digital learning materials will tell you everything you need to know. We will guide you when we release the corresponding Vision updates.

5. Where can I find more information?

If you use Vision, you can download an FAQ sheet specific to Vision from The Hive. It contains more background information and extra detail about dual coding.

NHS Digital has information about implementing SNOMED in primary care on its website.

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Topics: General practice, SNOMED


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