The International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation is to making source code for the IHTSDO Workbench, including tools to develop, maintain, and facilitate the use of SNOMED CT, freely available.
The IHTSDO says that it hopes the move will accelerate global collaboration around the use of the Workbench and tools it contains, helping to accelerate the use and take-up of SNOMED CT. the code is being made available under an Apache2 open source agreement.
IHTSDO will also make a number of seats on the collaborative web-based environment used to host the Workbench available free of charge to open source developers.
The Workbench has been developed by IHTSDO as part of its efforts to enable broader access to, and use of, standardized clinical terminologies worldwide.
“Open sourcing the IHTSDO Workbench will make it easier for developers from around the world to work together to further develop these tools,” said John Gutai, IHTSDO’s chief technical architect.
He added: “It also means that organizations and standards bodies from around the world can use the same tools to maintain their own terminologies and coding systems, leveraging the investment that IHTSDO and its Members have made.”
The IHTSDO Workbench source code includes a set of tools that allow users to author terminology, map terminology to other code sets, undertake workflow and process automation, search/browse terminology, and classify terminology (enabling reasoning over the SNOMED CT terminology).
Workbench users can work independently or can collaborate on terminology editing, management, or other tasks. In addition, IHTSDO is making non-clinical meta-data describing the structure of SNOMED CT available under an Apache2 agreement.
IHTSDO says it will add additional modules to the Workbench over time and to encourage partners to build and share complementary tools. Developers will be able to contribute to the progress of the Workbench. In addition, collaboration facilities will be made available to open source contributors who wish to assist with maintenance and enhancements to the source code.
“Already IHTSDO and a number of its Members are using the Workbench to develop, maintain, and produce terminology resources,” Ted Cizadlo, chair of the IHTSDO Technical Committee.
“Standardized clinical terminology is a key building block for the safe, accurate, and effective exchange of health information, and open sourcing the IHTSDO Workbench means that even more experts from around the world can join this collaborative effort.”