September 2014

From the Desk of the Managing Editor

AMT and SNOMED Update

The way clinical information is captured and shared by healthcare providers is vital to the success of Australia’s future e-health system. A standardised clinical terminology allows the description of clinical conditions, procedures and medications which are then unambiguously and meaningfully communicated to support ongoing, efficient and accurate information exchange across the health sector. Standardised Clinical Terminology is fundamental to the quality of data for e-health, and it underpins the enabling of clinicians to exchange their traditional paper-based records for a modern, electronic system. 

MIMS medicines information powers the majority of clinical medication solutions (such as electronic prescribing and administration solutions) used in both the acute and primary care sectors in Australia. This places MIMS at the forefront of facilitating the use of clinical terminologies that result in improved patient outcomes and overall population health through the improved communication and availability of electronic medical records. MIMS frequently discusses the role of clinical terminologies with clinicians and technologists. At times, we find that there may be confusion around the role of SNOMED CT and the AMT.  A brief description of each will help explain their relationship to each other and highlight their vital role within e-health solutions.

SNOMED Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT)
SNOMED Clinical Terms (usually abbreviated to SNOMED CT) is a systematically organized, computer processable collection of medical terms providing codes, terms, synonyms and definitions used in clinical documentation and reporting. SNOMED CT is considered to be the most comprehensive, multilingual clinical healthcare terminology in the world covering: clinical findings, symptoms, diagnoses, procedures, body structures, organisms and other etiologies, substances, pharmaceuticals, devices and specimen.

Australia Medicines Terminology (AMT)
The Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT) is a NEHTA-developed set of specifications that standardise the identification, naming, and describing of medicine information specific to Australia.
It is expected that AMT will help to reduce errors due to standardised terminology structure, the safer exchange of medicines information using common computer readable codes, and improved decision support. AMT can be implemented in clinical information systems that:

The way drug and medicines information is recorded and shared by healthcare providers is vital to the economic delivery and success of Australia’s future eHealth system. A standardised approach is fundamental to providing quality data for these eHealth initiatives.

Support of AMT is now considered mandatory to allow interoperability of drug and medicines concepts to other systems and clinical departments.


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Phone: 1800 800 629