Analyzing SNOMED CT's Historical Data: Pitfalls and Possibilities

AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2017 Feb 10;2016:361-370. eCollection 2016.


SNOMED CT's Release Format 2 (RF2) has been announced as an improvement over its predecessor, for instance because of its more consistent and almost formal approach towards describing changes in components over different versions, as well as changes in the structure of SNOMED CT itself. We explore two sorts of changes that are only partially formalized in RF2: the relationships between associative relations and reasons for inactivations as expressed in Association Reference Sets and Attribute Value Reference Sets on the one hand, and the various patterns according to which semantic tags appearing in fully specified names change over subsequent versions with or without being related to inactivations. We propose a data conversion methodology that combines assertions about SNOMED CT components into history profiles and use elements of these profiles to build Formal Concept Analysis contexts to discover valid implications that can render implicit assumptions hidden in SNOMED CT's structure explicit.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • History, 21st Century
  • Semantics
  • Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine*
  • Vocabulary, Controlled / history