December 2007

Document Type


Degree Name



Dept. of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology


Oregon Health & Science University


Medical terminologies and vocabularies describing the semantics of medical knowledge aim to improve communication of ideas between clinicians and researchers. Often more than one organization will produce terminologies that cover the same conceptual domain. This complicates the goal of communicating ideas with a common understanding of the intended meaning. In situations like these, it is important to define the interface between two overlapping medical vocabularies to avoid semantic drift when converting between terminologies. This paper describes a method for defining the interface between overlapping terminologies using XML. The method is demonstrated using two overlapping standards in common usage, the Minimal Standard Terminology for Digestive Endoscopy (MST) and SNOMED Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT). This provides the foundation for a full mapping between these two domains and illustrates how we can achieve mappings like this with many other medical terminologies.




School of Medicine



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