Nomenclature vs. Classification – Part 1

Part I of
Nomenclature vs. Classification

3M HIS Blog

When our esteemed Medical Director is about to make a pronouncement about something outside his vast area of expertise, he usually starts by saying, “I’m just a country doctor, but …”

Well, I’m just a country computer programmer, but I think we should discuss the difference between a nomenclature and a classification. “Nomenclature” is the “N” in SNOMED. “Classification” is the “C” in ICD-9 or -10.

Why am I wandering into such dangerous waters, swarming with medical informaticists and other academic denizens capable of biting my head off, or at least splitting all my hairs? Because many people, in their desire to have an easy ICD-9 to ICD-10 transition, are setting their expectations of the GEMs too high. This manifests itself as requests for otherworldly extensions to software that I helped write. And though I’d do almost anything to keep my customers satisfied, I’m not a magician.

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