Project Details Demonstration of NPU-SNOMED CT mapping/harmonization of terms used in clinical laboratory sciences

Project No.: 
Start Date: 
01 April 2009
End Date: 
28 February 2019


The purpose of this project is to allow IUPAC and the International Health Terminology Standards Developments Organization (IHTSDO) in corporation also with the LOINC committee to quickly engage in meaningful interaction and concrete testing of a mapping/harmonization project. The outcome will inform the provisions of a long term agreement for complementary content development and sharing of intellectual property.


This project will demonstrate the feasibility of mapping and harmonizing the NPU Clinical Laboratory Sciences terminology to the internationally owned and developed clinical reference terminology SNOMED CT. During the demonstration period this project will perform the mapping and harmonization of 200, out of approx. 18 000, NPU kind-of-property codes to the semantic model of SNOMED CT resolving any issues that will arise during the work. The 200 kind-of-properties to be studied will be chosen among such kinds-of-property that can increase our understanding of the underling complexity of clinical laboratory sciences terminology semantics.

This project will include the actual mapping of elements underlying the NPU codes to corresponding SNOMED CT entities as well as the alignment of semantic models of NPU and SNOMED CT. A set of rules governing the translation of complete NPU properties in a reproducible and sustainable manner have to be developed within the project for securing the overall structure of clinical laboratory sciences terminology.

The results of this project will guide the four involved organizations (IUPAC, IFCC, LOINC and IHTSDO) on how to progress to a mutual acceptable, coherent and robust model for clinical laboratory sciences terminology.

The ultimate very desirable goal of this cooperative effort must be seen in the light of an urgent need for global coordination of clinical laboratory sciences terminology so that necessary metrological, clinical and IT requirements are met for seamless and correct transmission of analytic result pertaining to all patients wherever they may be on earth.


On April 6, 2009, 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) began an operational Trial of prospective divisions of labor in the generation of laboratory test terminology content. This Trial will provide practical experience and important information on opportunities to decrease duplication of effort in the development of laboratory test terminology and to ensure that SNOMED CT works effectively in combination with either LOINC or NPU. [full news release]

> project announcement published in Chem. Int. July-Aug 2009

May 2014 update – The initial trials and accompanying governance issues have been delayed but are now at the governance level resolved. The technical trials that should precede the completion of this project can be restarted and allowing this project to be finished.

Oct 2015 update – This project work continues under project 2014-017-1-700 (Piloting SCT mapping).

last update 21 Oct 2015