What Is Semantic Interoperability?

Jun 13, 2018

Semantic interoperability, or the “ability to use digital health information across diverse care settings and clinical software”, makes healthcare data analytics possible. Without it, many problems can arise from using disparate electronic medical record (EMR) or electronic health record (EHR) systems, or any given patient having health records from more than one care provider. Semantic interoperability is the key to true interoperability that seamlessly synthesizes health information, and HealthTerm is the market’s leading terminology platform: the answer to the call for semantic interoperability.

Why is it necessary?

Say you’re a doctor, and you receive a patient record with one of the patient’s conditions being listed as “Grinch Syndrome”. A computer can’t reliably map “Grinch Syndrome” to any other disease, since it is likely that most providers would rather use the more clinical term. The name sounds pretty harmless, so it must not be that important to map, right? Wrong. “Grinch Syndrome” is just another way of saying Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, meaning the patient’s heart is disproportionately small, sometimes “two times too small,” hence the Dr. Seuss reference. Either name indicates a very serious ailment, and if a computer were to leave it out of the EHR or EMR because it doesn’t recognize the name, the doctor would not have access to vital patient information. Possibilities for errors like these necessitate a common language between caregivers, but all caregivers using the same notation in health records is not realistic in practice. Instead, CareCom offers terminology solutions to help standardize your clinical information.

The vast majority of healthcare facilities (75%, in fact) deal with over 10 EHR/EMR vendors in their daily lives, with the average healthcare facility having 18 vendors in use. Only 2% of facilities only use one EMR/EHR vendor. Accessing health information is important, but making sure that the health information obtained means something to providers is equally important. By using HealthTerm’s terminology services, you can avoid fatal mistakes in healthcare: the aforementioned doctor, without the information about the “Grinch Syndrome” translation, could misdiagnose the patient’s symptom of an elevated heart rate and therefore inaccurately prescribe medication to the patient that gives him adverse side effects. Without the patient explicitly telling the doctor something that he believes she already knows, the consequences of the bad prescription could be extremely detrimental, or even fatal. To avoid a predicament like this, care providers need access to a comprehensive terminology solution. That’s where we come in.

The lack of semantic interoperability in certain healthcare systems is what makes disparate systems an issue: with a service like HealthTerm, codes from multiple sources can be easily be synthesized into one central health record. This is a huge concern in healthcare, with more than 75% of HIMSS Analytics Study respondents saying that disparate systems, among other factors, is one of the biggest revenue cycle management issues facing healthcare today. HealthTerm uses both AI mapping and expert opinions to help care providers to identify what various codes mean within EMRs and EHRs. It gives care providers time to focus on their patients and more pressing hospital issues, rather than keeping physicians and technicians at the computer trying to piece health records together all day.

Why is HealthTerm the best option?

HealthTerm, using AI mapping, can reliably map up to 76% of data on first hit. There is usually about 10% rate of ‘garbage’ codes, which means there is only about 14% of custom codes that would require human intervention. For SNOMED CT concepts alone, HealthTerm provides more than 350,000 synonyms. By using HealthTerm’s tools, your organization can start standardizing clinical records quickly and efficiently. HealthTerm also allows care providers, health information exchanges, and other health information sources to create exceptional analytics that would not be possible without terminology services. We specialize in terminology so your organization can worry about the important things in the patient experience and not have to be concerned with the possibility of critical EHR and EMR omissions. With HealthTerm, you can also create local modifications of mappings, synonyms, and code sets for no additional cost*. There’s also no need for any third party database licenses. HealthTerm is CareCom’s main product and priority, and by specializing in the terminology niche, we do it better than any care organization, EHR/EMR service, or health information exchange (HIE) can do on their own. Let us help you. With HealthTerm, you can focus on what is important to you and your organization and leave the semantics to the experts.

*with appropriate licensing

Related: What are Terminology Services?

HealthTerm Content

Terminology Categorization and Normalization


HealthTerm® powered by CareCom

What is HealthTerm®?

HealthTerm® is a terminology platform, developed by CareCom over the last 15 years for the international healthcare sector.


How does HealthTerm® Work?

HealthTerm® handles all tasks related to terminologies, code systems and structured content – from creation of a new code system to translation of international code systems or mappings between local code lists and international standards.


What makes HealthTerm® Unique?

HealthTerm® is unique in having a full set of tools to create and maintain all types of code systems and at the same time, it has the performance/security to handle the biggest healthcare enterprises on run-time look-up.


Orion is excited to announce our migration to HealthTerm. The flexibility combined with the high quality control of HealthTerm's tooling is by far the best the market offers today. We offer our customers a complete tooling package with everything from ease of use, maintenance of local code systems and mapping to a huge range of standard code systems based on international process standards with workflow control and process statistics. Additionally the software enables handling multi lingual processing on the fly, patient friendly and clinician friendly terms. Thousands of subset for customers to use in their applications come as standard e.g. for quality measure reporting (CQMs) and detailed support for semantic ontologies.

Chief Medical Officer, Orion Health
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“HealthTerm® can be described as the link between applications and organizations in the healthcare system. It is one of the most advanced products within this specialized market. HealthTerm is a complete solution which can be used in any type of job where classifications and terminologies are essential. HealthTerm ensures consistency as all clinical and administrative systems collect codes from one source – and this in turn provides an increase in patient safety.”

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‘…EU Commission: the epSOS project uses HealthTerm® as the 24/7 terminology webserver, where all the national translations and mappings are created using the mapping and translation modules. The final results of these endeavors now represents the epSOS Central Reference Terminology Server for all participating countries.

The EU Commission
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SHIEC is excited to have CareCom U.S. join the SB&T Partner program,” said Kelly Hoover Thompson, CEO of SHIEC. “SB&T Partners are selected based on their ability to bring unique, value-added solutions to o ur HIE community members. We know some of our members might struggle with a single source of truth for code systems and effective ways to map codes. CareCom U.S. provides the tools and expertise to support our members financial and operational goals. SHIEC looks forward to working with CareCom U.S.

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“HealthTerm® is designed specifically for Clinical Master Data Management, and CareCom has answered all our requirements in a way that shows their experience and a wide knowledge and expertise in managing structured content. We are convinced that HealthTerm® will cover our needs for Clinical Master Data Management on both a short and long-term basis. Furthermore, CareCom will be a great advisor and sparring partner on future customized solutions.” says Alfhild Stokke, Program Manager, The Norwegian Directorate of eHealth.

The Norwegian Directorate of eHealth
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