Teaching medicine with a terminology/ontology portal

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2012:180:949-53.


The Health Terminology/Ontology Portal (HeTOP) was developed to provide easy access to health terminologies and ontologie. The repository is not only dedicated to professionals but is also a valuable teaching tool. Currently, it provides access to thirty two health terminologies and ontologies available mainly in French or in English, but also in German, Italian, Chinese, etc. HeTOP can be used by both humans and computers via Web services. To integrate new resources into HeTOP, three steps are necessary: (1) designing a meta-model into which each terminology (or ontology) can be integrated, (2) developing a process to include terminologies into HeTOP, (3) building and integrating existing and new inter & intra-terminology semantic harmonization into HeTOP. Currently, 600 unique machines use the MeSH version of HeTOP every day and restricted terminologies/ontologies are used for teaching purposes in several medical schools in France. The multilingual version of HeTOP is available (URL: http://hetop.eu/) and provides free access to ICD10 and FMA in ten languages.

Conclusion: HeTOP is a rich tool, useful for a wide range of applications and users, especially in education and resource indexing but also in information retrieval or performing audits in terminology management.

MeSH terms

  • Computer-Assisted Instruction / methods*
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Europe
  • Internet*
  • Terminology as Topic*
  • Vocabulary, Controlled*