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NCTS FHIR terminology resources

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The NCTS publishes FHIR terminology resources for many code systems such as SNOMED CT, LOINC and HL7. These resources are described in the FHIR specification and are accessible via RESTful APIs from a conformant FHIR terminology service. The standard format allows applications to interact with different terminologies in the same way.

The HL7™ Fast Health Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) standard is a framework for the exchange of healthcare information. It is published by HL7 International. While the FHIR standard is still relatively new and continues to evolve rapidly, it has already achieved considerable support within the community of healthcare software implementers.

FHIR is based around a set of modular components known as ‘resources’ that may be represented using XML or JSON formats during exchange. These include FHIR terminology resources which support the following use cases:

  • A code system resource can define a set of codes and their meanings, e.g. SNOMED CT
  • A value set resource specifies a set of codes belonging to one of more code systems for use in a specified context, e.g. Vaccination reason reference set
  • A concept map states relationships from one set of concepts to one or more other concepts, e.g. METeOR Person Sex 635126 to Biological Sex

Within a terminology service, FHIR resources can:

  • present a list of search results matching certain criteria to a user;
  • validate a code belongs to specified set of codes (i.e. value set);
  • translate a coded value to a code in another code system; and
  • look up the details of individual codes.
This diagram shows the relationships between FHIR terminology resources.

NCTS FHIR terminology resources may be obtained via the Integration Interface of the National Terminology Server. You can also browse these resources from the Access clinical terminology section of this website.

See also:

Terminology module (HL7 FHIR specification)

Terminology server (HL7 FHIR specification)