Clinical Terminology

Clinical terminology (CT) is a structured vocabulary used in clinical practice to accurately describe the care and treatment of patients. It covers complex concepts such as diseases, operations, treatments and medicines. Healthcare providers around the world use specialised vocabulary to describe diseases, clinical procedures, findings, treatments and medicines. Clinical Terminology products aim to create a comprehensive, non-ambiguous national vocabulary for implementation software applications used within the Australian healthcare community.

For interoperable electronic health information, it must be able to record, read and interpret clinical information which is exchanged between systems (e.g. drug names, diagnoses, or pathology test results). A key task for the National Clinical Terminology and Information Service (NCTIS) is therefore to identify methods of supporting the implementation of clinical terminology and clinical information standards across the Australian healthcare community.

Clinical Terminology News

Here is where you will find the latest product releases for Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT) and SNOMED CT-AU.

Clinical Terminology Releases

The SNOMED CT-AU and AMT v20161130 November 2016 combined release is now available for download.

From November 2015, the AMT is included as a formal subset of the SNOMED CT-AU release in preparation for future integration work. The Clinical Terminology end product supersedes the individual AMT and SNOMED CT-AU downloads, which have been archived (but are still available for download from the Agency website).

Read more: The Clinical Terminology v20161130 November 2016 Release is now available for download

The Royal College of Pathologists Australasia (RCPA) Pathology Terminology and Information Model v1.0 Release is now available for download.

Read more: Royal College of Pathologists Australasia (RCPA) Terminology and Information Model v1.0 Release

The SNOMED CT-AU v1.7 Common Release is now available for download.

Read more: The SNOMED CT-AU v1.7 Common Release is now available for download

Connectathon No. 3 - National Clinical Terminology Service (NCTS)

The Agency in collaboration with CSIRO, HL7 Australia and the National Health Chief Information Officers Forum hosted its second technical Connectathon on the National Clinical Terminology Service (NCTS) including its use of HL7's Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®). This Connectathon was held over two days on 5 and 6 July 2016 in Melbourne.

Read more: Connectathon No. 3 - National Clinical Terminology Service (NCTS)

Australian Clinical Terminology User Group (AuCT-UG)

The Australian Clinical Terminology User Group (AuCT-UG) is a self-governing national forum for the terminology community of practice including developers, implementers and users. The group meets every second month with options to attend in person (Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane) or via web and teleconference.

Involvement in the group provides opportunities to:

  • Network with others working in the same field;
  • Share experiences;
  • Provide input on a range of terminology topics;
  • Discuss issues and challenges;
  • Hear from and talk to experts;
  • Increase your knowledge and skills; and
  • Receive updates on both national and international terminology activities.

Further information on the group including the terms of reference can be found on the AuCT-UG website: http://auctug.com/

Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT) Support Group

The purpose of the AMT Support Group is to provide expert clinical and technical advice for the ongoing development and maintenance of the Australian Medicines Terminology.

Membership of this group includes representation from jurisdictions, professional organisations, key stakeholders, the pharmaceutical industry and vendors, who meet approximately every three months via teleconference, with provision for a face-to-face meeting at least once a year.

As the AMT Support Group structure is an open forum, an opportunity exists for individuals to participate in the ongoing development of the AMT. If you have a background in medicines management and are keen to be involved, please forward an expression of interest to help@digitalhealth.gov.au

IHTSDO Governance and Advisory Committees

For a full list of the representatives visit: http://www.ihtsdo.org/about-ihtsdo/governance-and-advisory/

The IHTSDO is comprised of a General Assembly, Management Board, Member Forum, Affiliate Forum, Standing Committees and Working Groups.

Each Member country has the opportunity to nominate standing members to represent their country at each of these groups.

The National Clinical Terminology Service (NCTS) is responsible for managing, developing and distributing terminology to support the digital health requirements of the Australian healthcare community. This responsibility extends to licensing SNOMED CT on behalf of the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO®). The Agency's clinical terminology solutions include: SNOMED CT-AU and Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT).

The NCTS has a dedicated Product Support team to assist licence holders in their understanding and implementation of SNOMED CT-AU and the AMT.

Support services can be tailored to the customer requirements and range from general training and education on the terminology through to specific technical support. The following support channels are freely available:

  • Email and phone support
  • Downloadable resources
  • Webinars
  • Technical workshops
  • Individual technical support at your workplace.

To request support or provide any other feedback, please email help@digitalhealth.gov.au or phone 1300 901 001.

IHTSDO®, SNOMED® and SNOMED CT® are registered trademarks of the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation.

SNOMED CT Australian Release (SNOMED CT-AU) is the Australian extension to SNOMED CT, providing local variations and customisations 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 releases are provided monthly from November 2015. Downloads are available to license holders only. SNOMED CT-AU can be viewed using the SHRIMP browser which is now available.

Learn more on SNOMED CT-AU

The Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT) delivers unique codes to unambiguously identify originator and generic brands of medicines commonly used in Australia. It also provides standard naming conventions and terminology to accurately describe medications. AMT releases are provided every month and include updates from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Therapeutic Administration (TGA). From November 2015 it will be provided as a formal subset of the SNOMED CT-AU release. The AMT can be viewed using the SHRIMP browser which is now available.

Learn more on Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT)

The Agency is responsible for defining a national approach to clinical terminology, to support the efficient and accurate electronic recording and exchange of clinical information across the health sector. Key to this work is access to SNOMED Clinical Terms™ (SNOMED CT®) and the Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT).

To register for a licence, please go to the National Clinical Terminology Service website:

Go to National Clinical Terminology Service (NCTS)