OHDSI, SNOMED International Formalize 5-Year Agreement To Open New Research Opportunities For Research Communities

The Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics (OHDSI) community and SNOMED International have formalized their long-time relationship with a five-year collaborative agreement that will benefit both of their user communities.

OHDSI is a non-profit, global research collaborative that provides open-source solutions and products to enable analysis and sharing of health and observational data. Coordinated by the Columbia University Department of Biomedical Informatics, its mission is to improve health by empowering a community to collaboratively generate the evidence that promotes better health decisions and better care.

SNOMED CT is a core terminology within OHDSI’s common data model: Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership (OMOP), allowing the use of other terminologies and classifications through computable linkages.

Effective April 29, 2022, the collaboration provides OHDSI and its user community with comprehensive ontologies on specific healthcare domains and content such as devices, social determinants of health, disease severity scores and modifiers of cancers, as well as better concept definitions and resolutions of composite concepts in large-scale observational research. In return, OHDSI and its user community can provide SNOMED International with information and feedback on clinical validation, frequency of use data, and validation of SNOMED CT content modeling. Ultimately, continuous feedback shared regarding identified content gaps will benefit both user communities as we move forward together.

The collaboration supports SNOMED International’s Member and stakeholder-driven five-year strategy, which includes genomic content collaboration as well as engagement with the research community. The work of OHDSI looks to showcase the use of SNOMED CT for the purposes of data analytics, supporting both healthcare research and audit, with the aim of enhancing healthcare globally.

“Both OHDSI and SNOMED International are working towards creating a healthcare environment that provides both patients and clinicians the real-world evidence needed to make informed and important decisions,” said George Hripcsak, Vivian Beaumont Allen Professor and Chair of Columbia University’s Department of Biomedical Informatics. “SNOMED plays a critical role by delivering the comprehensive health terminologies necessary for OHDSI to generate reliable and reproducible evidence. Our community is thrilled to formalize this partnership so we can continue this important work.”

SNOMED International CEO Don Sweete describes the collaboration with OHDSI as a major step forward supporting the global adoption of health data standards and terminologies. Supporting scientific research, networks and initiatives, SNOMED CT’s structured terminology strengthens tools used to produce research findings that drive improved patient outcomes.

“Although we have worked with OHDSI extensively over the past years, formalizing our relationship offers extensive benefits to each organization’s stakeholders and we are excited about the engagement opportunities and the quality improvements the relationship will drive,” he said. “As well, our vision statements closely align: OHDSI is working toward a world in which observational research produces a comprehensive understanding of health and disease, while SNOMED International envisions a near future in which clinical terminologies will be used globally, resulting in better health and improved patient outcomes and supported by one language of health.”

As part of the agreement, representatives from each organization will ensure the delivery of joint work, exploring areas where they can collaborate to highlight areas of clinical and informatics research and showcase the functionality of SNOMED International and OHDSI products. As an initial step, both parties will develop a two-year work plan that may include:

  • use of SNOMED CT for research and analytics;
  • evidence of benefits of SNOMED CT in use;
  • SNOMED CT and derivative quality improvement;
  • content collaboration;
  • open engagement between clinical and research communities between the two organizations; and
  • joint communications regarding the collaboration and work.

SNOMED CT will be available to OHDSI and its user community throughout the term of the agreement for use in OHDSI products available on OHDSI’s GitHub repository. SNOMED International will also continue to work with OHDSI to provide SNOMED CT Development Licenses to OHDSI users in SNOMED International non-Member countries.

For more information on this collaboration, please visit www.snomed.org and www.ohdsi.org.

About SNOMED International

SNOMED International is a not-for-profit organization that owns and develops SNOMED CT, the world’s most comprehensive healthcare terminology product. We play an essential role in improving the health of humankind by determining standards for a codified language that represents groups of clinical terms. This enables healthcare information to be exchanged globally for the benefit of patients and other stakeholders. We are committed to the rigorous evolution of our products and services, to deliver continuous innovation for the global healthcare community. SNOMED International is the trading name of the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organization.

Media Inquiries: Kelly Kuru, SNOMED International •


Founded in 2014, the Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics (OHDSI, pronounced “Odyssey”) is a multi-stakeholder, interdisciplinary, open-science community that collaborates globally to bring out the value of health data through large-scale analytics. With more than 2,900 collaborators across 74 countries and health records for about 810 million unique patients from around the world, OHDSI seeks to improve health by empowering a community to collaboratively generate the evidence that promotes better health decisions and better care. OHDSI’s data network is based on its OMOP common data model, enabling federated analytics amongst collaborators.

Media Inquiries: Craig Sachson, OHDSI • sachson@ohdsi.org