Development and evaluation of methods for structured recording of heart murmur findings using SNOMED CT® post-coordination

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Virginia Tech

Objective: Structured recording of examination findings, such as heart murmurs, is important for effective retrieval and analysis of data. Our study proposes two models for post-coordinating murmur findings and evaluates their ability to record murmurs found in clinical records.

Methods: Two models were proposed for post-coordinating murmur findings: the Concept-dependent Attributes model and the Interprets/Has interpretation model. A micro-nomenclature was created based on each model by using the subset and extension mechanisms provided for by the SNOMED-CT® framework. Within each micro-nomenclature a partonomy of cardiac cycle timing values was generated. In order for each model to be capable of representing clinical data, a mechanism for handling range values was developed. One hundred murmurs taken from clinical records were entered into two systems that were built based on each model to enter and display murmur data.

Results: Both models were able to record all 100 murmur findings; both required the addition of the same number of concepts into their respective micro-nomenclatures. However, the Interprets/Has interpretation model required twice the storage space for recording murmurs.

Conclusion: We found little difference in the requirements for implementation of either model. In fact, data stored using these models could be easily inter-converted. This will allow system developers to choose a model based on their own preferences. If at a later date a method is chosen for modeling within SNOMED-CT, the data can be converted to conform if necessary.

terminology, SNOMED CT, post-coordination, findings