CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Yearb Med Inform 2018; 27(01): 129-139
DOI: 10.1055/s-0038-1667077
Section 6: Knowledge Representation and Management
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart

Recent Developments in Clinical Terminologies — SNOMED CT, LOINC, and RxNorm

Oliver Bodenreider
1  Senior Scientist, Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD, USA
Ronald Cornet
2  Associate Professor, Department of Medical Informatics, Academic Medical Center - University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Public Health research institute, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Daniel J. Vreeman
3  Director, LOINC and Health Data Standards Regenstrief Center for Biomedical Informatics; Regenstrief-McDonald Scholar in Data Standards Indiana University School of Medicine; Research Scientist Regenstrief Institute, Inc., Indianapolis, USA
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
29 August 2018 (online)



Objective: To discuss recent developments in clinical terminologies. SNOMED CT (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine Clinical Terms) is the world's largest clinical terminology, developed by an international consortium. LOINC (Logical Observation Identifiers, Names, and Codes) is an international terminology widely used for clinical and laboratory observations. RxNorm is the standard drug terminology in the U.S.

Methods and results: We present a brief review of the history, current state, and future development of SNOMED CT, LOINC and RxNorm. We also analyze their similarities and differences, and outline areas for greater interoperability among them.

Conclusions: With different starting points, representation formalisms, funding sources, and evolutionary paths, SNOMED CT, LOINC, and RxNorm have evolved over the past few decades into three major clinical terminologies supporting key use cases in clinical practice. Despite their differences, partnerships have been created among their development teams to facilitate interoperability and minimize duplication of effort.