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SNOMED codes: UK guidance on how to record Covid-19

Joint guidelines from the Professional Record Standards Body and NHS Digital 

How to code cases of Covid-19 

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the  Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB) has published guidance for health and care professionals in collaboration with NHS Digital.

In order to provide timely support to you during the pandemic, we are sharing clinical guidance on how to code cases of COVID-19 which will help you manage clinical information that improves patient care.

It will also support central data collections to help manage the pandemic and aid research and planning. NHS Digital has compiled and released a new list of Covid-19-related UK SNOMED CT codes. This release is most relevant to primary care but the new codes are being communicated to all system vendors to update their systems.

At the urgent request of NHS Digital we have developed this brief guidance to assist you in your clinical practice.

We know that information needs will change during the pandemic and guidance will need to evolve to meet your needs. We will keep you informed of important updates over the days and weeks to come. Please feel free to pass this on to colleagues as appropriate. The guidance here has been developed with the support of our members and clinicians.

The Covid-19 SNOMED CT codes comprise the following groups:

  • Risk category
  • Isolating/shielding advice
  • Encounter and advice
  • Exposure
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Swabbing
  • Tests and test results
  • Clinical and test result interpretations/disease labels
  • Severity assessment
  • Complications
  • Vaccination 

The full list of codes is available on the NHS Digital website  and the attached spreadsheet showing the SNOMED-CT codes in groups with notes and working definitions to help understand how they should be used.

The PRSB is working with NHS Digital and the Faculty of Clinical Informatics to produce a short list of five or six codes that clinicians will find most useful for recording Covid-19 related information at this stage in the pandemic.

They are being mapped to terms and local system codes currently provided by system suppliers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We aim to provide this further guidance shortly.

These new Covid-19 codes should be used by the following clinicians, please note this is not an exhaustive list:

  • GPs
  • Primary care nurses
  • Other community-based clinicians using primary care or community systems
  • Pharmacists
  • Community-based mental health clinicians

System suppliers will be updating their systems now and will be rolling out Covid-19 related SNOMED CT codes urgently. Please check with your system supplier about when the new codes will be available locally.

Source: Professional Record Standards Body, Clinical guidance on Covid-19 SNOMED codes [published 1 April]



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