Languages other than English (3) Multilingualism in the context of personal medical records

4 March, 2021

Re Multilingualism

As UN, WHO, HIFAand health digitization progress It may be useful to consider multilingualism within the context of medical records as well as within the context of that of generic information. SNOMED CT is a global language for digital health. I have extracted these facts from he SNOMED website []


SNOMED International is a not-for-profit organization that owns and maintains SNOMED CT.

SNOMED plays an essential role in improving health 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. SNOMED are committed to the rigorous evolution of our products and services, to deliver continuous innovation for the global healthcare community. "SNOMED International determines global standards for health terms, an essential part of improving the health of humankind.

The use of an Electronic Health Record (EHR) improves communication and increases the availability of relevant and critical clinical information. When clinical information is stored in a way that allows meaning-based retrieval, the benefits are greatly increased.

These benefits range from increased opportunities for real time decision support to more accurate retrospective reporting for research, data analytics, precision medicine and management. As the most comprehensive clinical terminology in use around the world, the implementation and adoption of SNOMED CT can enable a multitude of benefits for health systems globally.

SNOMED CT enabled clinical health records benefit individuals by:

- Enabling clinical information to be recorded consistently

- Enabling support systems to check the record and provide real-time advice

- Supporting the sharing of appropriate information with others involved in delivering care, allowing the understanding of the information in a common way by all providers

- Allowing accurate and comprehensive analysis that identify patients who require follow-up or changes of treatment

- Removing language barriers – SNOMED CT enables multilingual use

SNOMED CT enabled clinical health records benefit populations by:

- Facilitating early identification of emerging health issues, monitoring of population health and agile response to changing clinical practices

- Enabling accurate access to relevant information, reducing costly duplications and errors

- Enabling the delivery of relevant data to support clinical research and contribute evidence for future improvements in treatment

- Enhancing audits of care delivery with options for detailed analysis of clinical records to investigate outliers and exceptions

SNOMED CT enabled health records inform evidence-based health care decisions by:

- Enabling links between clinical records and clinical guidelines

- Enhancing the quality of care

- Reducing costs of duplicative testing and treatment

- Limiting the frequency and impact of adverse healthcare

- Raising the cost-effectiveness and quality of care


HIFA profile: Richard Fitton is a retired family doctor - GP, British Medical Association. Professional interests: Health literacy, patient partnership of trust and implementation of healthcare with professionals, family and public involvement in the prevention of modern lifestyle diseases, patients using access to professional records to overcome confidentiality barriers to care, patients as part of the policing of the use of their patient data

Email address: richardpeterfitton7 AT