Project Details Mapping of IFCC-IUPAC laboratory coding system to SNOMED CT (SNOMED CT - Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine Clinical Terms)

Project No.:
Start Date:
01 July 2006
End Date:
16 November 2016
Division Name:
Chemistry and Human Health Division
Division No.:


Systematically relating all coded ‘properties’ in the IFCC-IUPAC coding system for laboratory information to relevant concepts in SNOMEDCT clinical terminology.


In many countries a translation and adaptation of the SNOMED CT clinical terminology is considered, planned, or initiated, for use in national health IT systems and communications. The SNOMED CT core terminology does not support all needs for laboratory information in health care; specific laboratory terminologies exist to serve that purpose. A mapping has been established between concepts in SNOMED CT and the American LOINC laboratory coding system, enabling the laboratory terms to be used in a SNOMED CT context.

The IFCC-IUPAC coding system is in actual or planned use as a laboratory terminology in several countries. In order to integrate the use of the system with national clinical terminologies based on SNOMED CT a systematic mapping of relations between the two systems is needed. The connection between LOINC codes and the SNOMED CT core terminology is established via a table of relations. A similar set of relations can be produced for IFCC-IUPAC codes.

Identifying related concepts in SNOMED CT for each IFCC-IUPAC code may to a large extent be done in a structured manner based on defined rules. The project entails

  • establishing a database as a tool for mapping and reporting
  • determining rules for systematic mapping
  • performing the actual mapping between IFCC-IUPAC properties and SNOMED CT elements – using rule based matching where possible
  • identifying concepts used in IFCC-IUPAC terminology, but not yet included in SNOMED CT.

In order to ensure a close and specific mapping, cooperation with SNOMED International should be established, enabling needed concepts to be established in the SNOMED CT terminology in a planned manner.


> project announcement published in Chem. Int. Mar-Apr 2007, p. 18

Feb 2011 update – The Danish LabTerm database at – temporary repository for the NPU terminology since 2008 – was structured to enable mapping of concepts between NPU definitions and SNOMED CT according to the concept model then assumed.

In 2009, an operational Trial of prospective divisions of labor in the generation of laboratory test terminology content was performed, with participation of the owners of three standards that contain laboratory test terminology – the Logical Observation Identifiers, Names, Codes (LOINC), Nomenclature, Properties and Units (NPU), and the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine – Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT). The project included establishment of relations from a sample of NPU codes to SNOMED CT concepts, and demonstrated that it was feasible to establish fully defining relations between the two terminologies.
This Trial was simultaneous with and delivered input to a restructuring of the SNOMED CT model for Observable Entities.

When the present draft model for Observable Entities is finalized, the project will have to be reevaluated, as the SNOMED CT model will be more complex than the one first planned for. The mapping will demand more resources than originally assumed, and the functionality implemented in the LabTerm database will not suffice.

Oct 2015 update – Because of changes in later years to basic SNOMED CT concept structures, this project cannot be completed as originally intended. Project work will continue until the end of 2015, in cooperation with participants on the related projects 2009-005-1-700 and 2014-017-1-700, with the aim of transferring all products and information to project 2014-017-1-700 (Piloting SCT mapping).

Page last updated 21 Oct 2015