NHS Digital Terminology Server goes live

The NHS Digital Terminology Server is now live. The platform supports data exchange between systems and integration of local coding systems with national and international coding languages, such as SNOMED-CT and FHIR.

In September 2020, NHS Digital awarded a contract to Dedalus and CSIRO, the creators of Ontoserver, to implement the platform.

Ontoserver is a tool to match up common variations in clinical terminologies – such as “chest infection” vs “upper-respiratory infection” to help the different clinical coding software ‘talk to each other’. The solution uses the international FHIR standards to process codes, their descriptions and interrelationships, including complex queries.

It means health and care organisations and suppliers, can then choose consistent terminology mapping capability to support integrated care and share code system reference data.

The introduction of the Terminology Server will also see approved researchers be able to use the reference data to create their own databases, where they will be able to map local and existing codes with new coding systems, such as SNOMED-CT.

NHS Digital’s Terminology Server, which is now live, together with the national framework, is said to “create a collaborative ecosystem and a hub of central infrastructure that reduces the cost to organisations wanting to benefit from a common health language.”

Nicholas Oughtibridge, Lead Data Architect, NHS Digital, commented: “Having consistent codes makes life easier for clinicians and researchers, and ultimately patients.  The Terminology Server facilitates faster data capture and record keeping at the clinical coalface and enables those records to be reused not only in a single clinical setting but in other similar or very different settings as a patient moves around the health and care system.  The Terminology Server also opens the opportunity to reuse data for population analysis, research or for regulating providers.”

Colin Henderson, Regional General Manager, Dedalus Group, UK & Ireland, added: “Enabling healthcare systems to speak the same language is a key component in driving interoperability.  The Terminology Server provides a real opportunity to create an ecosystem and a community of users across the UK that can benefit from accurate, consistent and up-to-date data.”