Frequently Asked Questions

This database provides responses to Pathology related helpdesk queries, and queries raised during our stakeholder engagement workshops and "introduction to SNOMED CT in Pathology" webinars. Clicking on a line will open it up to show the full question and answer. You can also 'Search' for particular words in the various areas of the responses if you have something specific in mind.

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38 entries

List of entries in this database
Query typeQuery detailsResolutionUpdatedDate added to databaseUID
How will NHS Digital Support the move to SNOMED CT?
The NHS Digital Pathology & Diagnostics (P&D) Team are developing a suite of mutually-supporting standards that together support the migration of NHS Pathology to SNOMED CT. The main areas of development are:

1) A Unified Test List (UTL) for Pathology
2) Units of Measure (UoM)
3) Messaging Specifications based on HL7 FHIR
4) The underlying Data Model for the above

We also have an active Stakeholder Engagement workstream that includes a national user group (PINUG), an online collaboration site (link to Kahootz), Educational resources, and scheduled national events to share progress.
20 May 2020
Are there plans for a small Implementation group for HOW we move from old to new? 
In the short term a subgroup of the PINUG (which is clinically not NHS Digital led) could establish itself or could be combined with a wider SNOMED implementation group – this is on NHS Digital’s wider backlog but is dependent upon agreed priorities and funding for it to be centrally led.
22 Apr 2020 22 Apr 2020
For reporting from Lab to GP system, surely the GP System has to be ready to receive the messages. Are TPP and EMIS on board?
Yes, All the major Primary Care suppliers are already SNOMED CT compliant and have plans to utilise the Pathology FHIR message specification.
22 Apr 2020 22 Apr 2020
The national target for secondary care is 2020 - should Trusts be actively engaging with suppliers on this now or is NHS Digital managing this?
There are a number of systems available to trusts for an Electronic Patient Record (EPR) that utilises SNOMED CT. As part of the requirement for Paperless 2020 trusts are expected to implement an EPR; they should ensure that when they contract for such a system that it uses SNOMED CT. There is currently not an equivalent programme, such as GPSOC or GP IT Futures, for secondary care as the requirement for SNOMED CT has been in place for many years and should be part of their EPR implementation; all systems deployed under the national programme incorporated SNOMED CT.
22 Apr 2020 22 Apr 2020
Do I have to wait for my order comms to be ready for FHIR?
Yes, please speak to your system supplier re their roadmap.
22 Apr 2020 22 Apr 2020
What is your intention regarding Pathology reference ranges?
Pathology harmonisation is a difficult to agree area, some tests have accepted and harmonised ranges, but most don't.

NB: the ability to exchange reference ranges are incorporated in the Pathology FHIR message specification.
22 Apr 2020 22 Apr 2020
Why are we focusing solely on FHIR, as FHIR is not a prerequisite for Interoperability?
The Generic Information Model means it doesn’t necessarily have to be FHIR however FHIR is the direction of travel. Information Standards are going to be based on SNOMED and FHIR.

FHIR is (amongst other things) a serialisation format. The same data structures could be implemented in another serialisation, e.g. HL7v3. However the SNOMED CT coding for pathology is being designed to work naturally with the standard resources and capabilities of FHIR, and the documentation and other support provided by NHS Digital will focus on the SNOMED and FHIR combination, so one would expect following the FHIR route to be easier for implementers.
22 Apr 2020 22 Apr 2020
Can Pathology messages be received by Primary Care systems once SNOMED CT is implemented?  Will Primary Care requested pathology test results still be sent using the PMIP EDIFACT messaging standard?
In Primary Care, GP systems have already adopted native support of SNOMED. In the short term results can still be delivered to primary care via the PMIP EDIFACT messaging standard using Read codes that are then mapped to SNOMED by the receiving system.

In the longer term, the PMIP EDIFACT standard for Primary Care results will be replaced by a new messaging standard, based on HL7 FHIR.  This FHIR based standard will be capable of directly carrying SNOMED coded test results.
25 Jun 2020
Laboratory input is essential  when discussing with developers, otherwise you develop what you want, not what the laboratory needs. What Level of input have laboratories had so far?
The UTL was developed based upon the tests used in Exemplar trust labs. Users have been consulted via the Professional Record Standards Body but need to be consulted further and this is intended to be undertaken with the First of Type Implementation sites. If you are interested in being a First of Type site, please contact
22 Apr 2020 22 Apr 2020
Where can I find Tools for the Migration from Antecedent SNOMED versions to SNOMED CT?
The migration toolkit is available for use from the TRUD website, link: Please download from TRUD the SNOMED Legacy Data Migration Sub-pack and read the documentation. Note, you will have to create an account to download the files. Any further questions please contact
22 Apr 2020 22 Apr 2020
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