Codes, classifications, terminologies and nomenclatures: definition, development and application in practice

Inform Prim Care. 2005;13(1):65-70. doi: 10.14236/jhi.v13i1.580.


The Primary Care Informatics Working Group of EFMI is working to help develop the core theory of primary care informatics (PCI). Codes, classifications, terminologies and nomenclatures form an important part of the science of PCI, as they allow clinical information to be readily stored and processed in information systems. This article provides definitions and a history of the International Classification for Primary Care (ICPC), and of the Read code and the Systematized Nomenclature for Medicine (SNOMED). The Working Group wishes to encourage shared definitions and an understanding of the practical application of structured data to improve quality in clinical practice.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care Information Systems*
  • Europe
  • Family Practice*
  • Humans
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized*
  • Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Vocabulary, Controlled*