Inventory of Health Care Information Standards. Advisory Committee on Dental Electronic Nomenclature Indexing and Classification (ACODENIC)


Microglossary of SNOMED for Dentistry

The American Dental Association established this advisory committee to develop standardized clinical terminology for the dental profession in an electronic environment. All segments of the health care process must be addressed, such as patient history, presenting conditions, physical findings, services, risk factors, outcomes, or other important details. In addition, all facets of health care, independent of profession, discipline or specialty must be included in standardized terminology. Therefore, the Advisory Committee has engaged in the difficult task of creating a clinical terminology and coding system which will provide the dental profession with varying degrees of utility.

In order to accomplish this charge, the American Dental Association recognized the strength of the SNOMED International system and began working with the College of American Pathologists on the development of a microglossary of SNOMED for dentistry. The ADA's Microglossary is currently in development and is expected to be completed in 1997. The ADA is participating with a sample of terms from the Microglossary in the Large Scale Vocabulary Test conducted by the National Library of Medicine (NLM). The proposed dental terms are being tested against the NLM's Unified Medical Language System (UMLS). The goal of the NLM Large Scale Vocabulary Test is to contribute to an understanding of the controlled terminology that will be needed for electronic health care systems, whether these are for direct patient care, clinical or health services research, or public health surveillance. The Test seeks to determine the extent to which a combination of existing health-related terminologies cover vocabulary needed in health information systems. The terminology that the participants submit to should provide the basis for realistic resouce estimates for developing and maintaining a comprehensive "standard" health vocabulary that is based on existing terminologies. In addition, the ADA's dental terms were recently used to update the dental terminology for the NLM's 1997 Medical Subject Headings (MeSH). MeSH is the vocabulary used to index articles in the National Library of Medicine's MEDLINE database and its derivative publications, including Index Medicus and the American Dental Association's Index to Dental Literature.

The ADA's procedure codes will also be mapped to the SNOMED terms in the Dental Microglossary.

3) Comprehensive Glossary of Dental Terms - Standardized terminology must have explicit definitions. A collective guide is important for consistent interpretation of terms by the profession and aggregate data analysts. Therefore, the American Dental Association's ACODENIC is also developing a comprehensive glossary of dental terms. In addition to defining the terms in the Microglossary, the definitions will be useful for the NLM's MeSH and UMLS knowledge sources.