Eliciting the Intension of Drug Value Sets - Principles and Quality Assurance Applications

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2017;245:843-847.


Value sets (VSs) used in electronic clinical quality measures are lists of codes from standard terminologies ("extensional" VSs), whose purpose ("intension") is not always explicitly stated. We elicited the intension for the 09/01/2014 release of extensional medication value sets by comparison to drug classes from the October 2014 release of RxClass. Value sets matched drug classes if they shared common ingredients, as evidenced by Jaccard similarity score. We elicited the intension of 80 extensional value sets. The average Jaccard similarity was 0.65 for single classes and 0.80 for combination classes, with 34% (27/80) of the value sets having high similarity scores. Manual review by a pharmacist indicated 51% (41/80) of the drug classes selected as the best mapping for a value set matched the intension reflected in that value set name. This approach has the potential for facilitating the development and maintenance of medication value sets.

Keywords: Algorithms; Controlled; RxNorm; Vocabulary.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations*
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Vocabulary, Controlled*


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations