Reliability of SNOMED-CT coding by three physicians using two terminology browsers.

Michael F. Chiang, John C. Hwang, Alexander C. Yu, Daniel S. Casper, James J. Cimino, Justin B. Starren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


SNOMED-CT has been promoted as a reference terminology for electronic health record (EHR) systems. Many important EHR functions are based on the assumption that medical concepts will be coded consistently by different users. This study is designed to measure agreement among three physicians using two SNOMED-CT terminology browsers to encode 242 concepts from five ophthalmology case presentations in a publicly-available clinical journal. Inter-coder reliability, based on exact coding match by each physician, was 44% using one browser and 53% using the other. Intra-coder reliability testing revealed that a different SNOMED-CT code was obtained up to 55% of the time when the two browsers were used by one user to encode the same concept. These results suggest that the reliability of SNOMED-CT coding is imperfect, and may be a function of browsing methodology. A combination of physician training, terminology refinement, and browser improvement may help increase the reproducibility of SNOMED-CT coding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-135
Number of pages5
JournalAMIA ... Annual Symposium proceedings / AMIA Symposium. AMIA Symposium
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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