So I am nearing the actual coding part of my medical coding study, but first I have to be tortured by stuff like SNOMED CT. SNOMED CT, hereafter referred to as ‘sno’, is a terminology for EHR (electronic health record) that allows for multi-axial linking of information through a hierarchical structure of clinical definitions.

I think.

There is a scene in Atlas Shrugged where a character, a steel tycoon, is listening to some government official try to sell him on some government scheme that will basically bankrupt the tycoon – bleed him dry. Every time the tycoon asks him “what is it?” meaning what exactly is this law, the government creep can do nothing but offer pitches of how awesome it is and how it will benefit all parties concerned.

But what is it?

I could not help but think of that while reading the assigned material on “sno”.

SNOMED CT based clinical information benefits individual patients and clinicians as well as populations and it supports evidence based care.

But, what is it?

The use of an Electronic Health Record (EHR) improves communication and increases…

But what is it?

If clinical information is stored in ways that allow meaning-based retrieval, the benefits are greatly increased.

But what is it?

[Next sentence] The added benefits range from increased opportunities for real time decision support to more accurate retrospective reporting…

But what is it?

SNOMED CT is useful for clinical documentation, as it supports the representation of detailed clinical information, in a way that can be processed automatically…

But what is it?

Realization of the capability of SNOMED CT to support clinical information and meaning based retrieval requires careful consideration of the actual setting, in terms of scope of use, record structure, data entry, data retrieval and communication.

But… ah hell…

If these guys were presenting anatomy, we’d never be able to perform surgeries in a few years.

If we recognize the influence the small intestine has on other systems we would…

But what is the small intestine?

The small intestine benefits all who utilize one, and, by extension, the population as a whole…

But what is the small intestine?

Well, it aides in digestion.

Ah! Great! Please go on, show me.

The small intestine-

No, show me.

The small intestine was developed during the pre-

Door closes.

Now, they did tell me (after endless sentences repeating its benefits and what it is supposed to do) that it is a clinical terminology for the EHR, electronic health record, that allows for – and then all the stuff they repeated to me.

Here is the thing. I still don’t know what IT IS. It had one miserable little picture that looked like a mind map doodle. But if I can’t walk away with a picture of what it is, why tell it to me? It is a vocabulary, so it is not a spirit, it is not immaterial. It is not subatomic. So show me!









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