SNOMED CT is considered to be the most comprehensive multilingual health terminology in the world. SNOMED CT-AU (i.e. SNOMED CT Australian Release) is the Australian extension to SNOMED CT.

SNOMED CT includes more than 350,000 active concepts with unique meanings and formal logic based definitions, organised in hierarchies with multiple levels of granularity. These hierarchies include clinical findings, procedures, observables, body structures, organisms, substances, and pharmaceutical/biologic products.

SNOMED CT-AU provides local variations and customisation of terms relevant to the Australian healthcare community. It includes the international resources along with all Australian developed terminology, including the Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT) for implementation in Australian clinical IT systems. SNOMED CT-AU has been identified as the preferred national terminology for Australia and has been endorsed by all Australian state and territory governments.

SNOMED CT-AU has been available for use in Australia since 1 July 2006. It is updated monthly and is available to download for free by registered license holders.

What are Reference Sets?

Reference sets are collections of SNOMED CT (or SNOMED CT-AU) components and clinical descriptions for a particular purpose. One analogy is to think of SNOMED CT-AU as a book – the reference set acts like an index, pointing to a chapter or ‘concept’ that is relevant to a subject. For example, the members of the Pathology Request Test Name reference set are drawn from the Laboratory sub-hierarchy within the Procedures hierarchy of SNOMED CT-AU. Reference sets serve different purposes:

  • Clinical and administrative reference sets are produced to satisfy particular use cases, including healthcare data that directly represents patient care;
  • Foundation reference sets are used as a basis from which further use case-specific reference sets are developed; and
  • Structural reference sets manage extensions, data structures foundation for SNOMED CT and SNOMED CT-AU release files, and support their implementation.

What is the Australian Dialect Reference Set?

The SNOMED CT-AU Australian Dialect Reference Set specifies the Australian preferred terms and synonyms considered necessary to support the recording of clinical information in Australian Digital Health implementations. The Australian dialect reference set was developed as SNOMED CT does not always have the appropriate terms for Australian content.


SNOMED CT is owned, maintained and distributed by SNOMED International.

SNOMED International is an international not-for-profit organisation based in London, owned and governed by its national Members. It was established in 2007 by nine countries who became the original (Charter) Members of the organisation, Australia being one of them. SNOMED International now has twenty eight Members and has issued Affiliate licenses to more than 5,000 individuals and organisations worldwide.

Learn More About SNOMED CT-AU

The documents below provide a useful introduction to SNOMED CT. Further resources to assist in the understanding, use and deployment of SNOMED CT-AU can be found in the NCTS document library and the SNOMED International SNOMED CT document library. Starter GuideThe best place to start learning about SNOMED CT or to refresh existing knowledge. An overview of a range of topics related to the terminology. Introduction to SNOMED CTAn informative practical introduction to SNOMED CT focused primarily on the needs of vendors and developers of EHRs and other related applications in healthcare information technology.
/library/DH_2798_2018_Introduction_to_SNOMEDCT-AU_Presentation_v1.2.pdfSNOMED CT-AUA presentation introducing both SNOMED CT and SNOMED CT-AU. 

Download the presentation and read it alongside the recorded webinar.
/library/DH_2797_2018_SNOMEDCT-AU_hierarchies_presentation_v1.0.pdfSNOMED CT-AU HierarchiesA presentation providing an overview of each of the SNOMED CT-AU hierarchies and the type of content, including some examples, available within each. 

Download the presentation and read it alongside the recorded webinar.
/library/DH_3288_2020__TerminologyAndClassificationPresentation_v2.1.pdf Terminology and Classification Presentation v2.1 This presentation was developed in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) and provides an overview of commonly used code sets in health; SNOMED CT-AU features and main use cases; ICD-10-AM features and main use cases; International Classification of Diseases revision; and maps between SNOMED CT and ICD-10.
/library/DH_3241_2020_Searching_SNOMEDCT-AU_using_Shrimp_v1.1.pdfSearching SNOMED CT-AU using the Shrimp browserDemonstrates a popular terminology browser and how to search for SNOMED CT-AU content, including the AMT.
/introduction-to-help/frequently-asked-questions/snomed-ct-au-faqs/FAQsFrequently asked questions about SNOMED CT-AU.