Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is now evaluating use of SNOMED-CT. This paper reports the first phase of this evaluation, which examines the coverage of SNOMED-CT for problem list entries. Clinician expressions in VA problem lists are quite diverse compared to the content of the current VA terminology Lexicon. We selected a random set of 5054 narratives that were previously "unresolved" against the Lexicon. These narratives were mapped to SNOMED-CT using two automated tools. Experts reviewed a subset of the tools' matched, partly matched, and un-matched narratives. The automated tools produced exact or partial matches for over 90% of the 5054 unresolved narratives. SNOMED-CT has promise as a coding system for clinical problems. In subsequent studies, VA will examine the coverage of SNOMED for other clinical domains, such as drugs, allergies, and physician orders.
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