WASP—A Web Application to Support Syntactically and Semantically Correct SNOMED CT Postcoordination

Cora Drenkhahn*, Tessa Ohlsen*, Joshua Wiedekopf, Josef Ingenerf*

*Corresponding author for this work


Expressive clinical terminologies are of utmost importance for achieving a semantically interoperable data exchange and reuse in healthcare. SNOMED CT, widely respected as the most comprehensive terminology in medicine, provides formal concept definitions based on description logic which not only allows for advanced querying of SNOMED-CT-coded data but also for flexibly augmenting its 350,000 concepts by allowing a controlled combination of these. This ability for postcoordination largely increases the expressivity of the terminology but correlates with an intrinsic complexity. Complicated by the current lack of tooling support, postcoordination is widely either ignored or applied in an error-prone way. To help facilitate the adoption of postcoordination, we implemented a web application that guides users through the creation of postcoordinated expressions (PCEs) while ensuring adherence to syntactic and semantic constraints. Our approach was largely facilitated by making use of the extensive SNOMED CT specifications as well as advanced HL7 FHIR Terminology Services. Qualitative evaluations confirmed the usability of the developed application and the correctness of the PCEs created with it.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6114
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 05.2023


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