A survey of SNOMED CT direct users, 2010: impressions and preferences regarding content and quality

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Abstract

Objective

Little information exists concerning SNOMED CT (systematized nomenclature of medicine—clinical terms) users. This report describes current impressions and preferences of direct SNOMED CT users regarding coverage, quality, and concept details, and the change request mechanism.

Design

A 43-question anonymous survey distributed electronically to relevant online communities.

Measurements

Data on user demographic characteristics, modes and purposes of use, means and frequencies of access, satisfaction with SNOMED CT content coverage and quality and with the change request mechanism were recorded.

Results

The survey was conducted in January 2010 and elicited 215 responses. Details regarding users' profiles, modes of use and access were reported elsewhere. The coverage of SNOMED CT was perceived to be at least 85% complete by 42% of responders, and 60% were at least satisfied with its quality. Various deficiencies were encountered at least ‘somewhat often’ by 28–61% of responders. Incorrect data were more bothersome than missing data. Users indicated that significant resources should be allocated to more consistent and complete conceptual representations and to further enhance content coverage. Enhanced synonym coverage and the introduction of textual definitions were important to users (54% and 63%, respectively).

Limitations

A survey format with limited control over recruitment and selection bias. Lack of information regarding the SNOMED CT version used by responders.

Conclusion

Despite overall satisfaction, direct users indicated a strong desire to improve consistency, quality, and completeness of conceptual representations and concept details, as well as a continued desire to expand coverage. The survey provides much needed data for informed decisions regarding the use and development goals of SNOMED CT. Focused periodical surveys are warranted.

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