January 15, 2002


 AVMA renews support for SNOMED

Posted Jan. 1, 2002

After lengthy discussion, the Executive Board approved an appropriation of $69,300 for 2003 to continue the development and maintenance of the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine vocabulary consistent with the needs of the veterinary profession.

SNOMED is the only actively maintained, controlled nomenclature for veterinary medicine.

Since 1993 the AVMA has supported the AVMA Secretariat for SNOMED International, based at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, for the purpose of developing veterinary content in SNOMED.

In 2000, the board approved providing expanded financial support in the amount of $42,000 for 2001 and $65,000 for 2002 to further enhance content development. The Committee on Veterinary Medical Informatics recommended continued support of the project in 2003.

With this budget, the committee states, the AVMA is able to increase its participation in the development of the veterinary content within SNOMED. Dr. Jeff Wilcke, the AVMA liaison to the SNOMED editorial board, has created an Internet-based SNOMED browser that allows users to look up appropriate terminology online. He has also created a system whereby lists of terms can be assigned appropriate SNOMED concept identifiers for inclusion into automated medical record systems.

Some board members wonder whether the AVMA is bearing too much of the financial responsibility for SNOMED. President-Elect Joe M. Howell questioned the relative importance of the project and was concerned that AVMA support was becoming an annual obligation. "I'm not sure this rises to the level of other [initiatives]," he said.

Dr. Henry E. Childers, District I representative, noted that allied groups think SNOMED is important, as does the Department of Agriculture.

Dr. Howell recommended, and the board approved, an amendment to have a letter sent to Dr. Wilcke requesting that funding from additional sources be sought.