Making health records more accessible

Through the Australian e-Health Research Centre, we are building tools that make managing healthcare records more efficient.

The Challenge

Adopting the international standard for healthcare data

Electronic management of health information promises safer, more efficient and better quality healthcare.

Enabling faster access to health records. © iStock, Silvrshootr

However, different health records often use various terms to describe the same medical concept. This creates a major stumbling block when it comes to integrating this data electronically.

Australia has joined many other nations in adopting the international standard for clinical terminology (known as SNOMED CT) – to be used in the collection, management and sharing of health and health related data.

Our Response

A solution for smooth data integration

To overcome data integration issues and translate existing records into the same standard terminology format, we've been developing a new software platform through the Australian E-health Research Centre.

Called Snapper , the software describes the meaning of clinical terms used by the international standards, allowing existing data to be treated as if it had been originally collected and entered using the same concept.

It also extends the international standards to cover specialist and local terminology.

Snapper is now also being extended to support encoding of medication strength and quantity information, thanks to the release of national terminology standards (Australian Medicines Terminology version 3).

The Results

Sharing data more efficiently

Snapper helps medical professionals work together in developing shared healthcare terminology.

It ensures better data is captured, reducing communication errors that lead to otherwise avoidable mistakes. It increases efficiencies and also enables better health outcomes.

Our related technology, Snorocket , has already been included in the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO) software toolkit for classifying medical information.

Snorocket is used by Australia’s National E-Health Transition Authority to produce each release of their international and national terminology standards.

It is currently used by several state health departments, as well as small and medium-sized businesses in Australia.

This work won the e-health category of the 2012 Queensland iAwards.

A collaboration with the Princess Alexandra Hospital saw the development of snoMAN, a tool that automatically maps terminology from the hospital’s electronic medical records to the Australian disease classification system. This will facilitate accurate funding data, while also allowing clinicians to reap the benefits of the more detailed terminology records.

snoMAN provides a quick and easy way to convert data and fulfil national reporting requirements. The maps provided are specifically designed for statutory data reporting in the non-admitted patient sector (Emergency Departments), operating under Activity Based Funding protocols.

snoMAN improves upon previous clinical terminology mapping technologies, it is more comprehensive, inclusive of a broader range of descriptions and concepts, and dynamic with reports updated every month so the most current terminology available to clinicians is reflected in national reports.

The snoMAN clinical terminology mapping solution won the Research and Development Project of the Year at the 2016 Queensland iAwards.


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