Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Information Science, Bioinformatics

Publication Details

Journal of Biomedical Informatics

Received 18 June 2011. Available online 17 December 2011.



Clinical archetypes provide a means for health professionals to design what should be communicated as part of an Electronic Health Record (EHR). An ever-growing number of archetype definitions follow this health information modelling approach, and this international archetype resource will eventually cover a large number of clinical concepts. On the other hand, clinical terminology systems that can be referenced by archetypes also have a wide coverage over many types of health-care information.

No existing work measures the clinical content coverage of archetypes using terminology systems as a metric. Archetype authors require guidance to identify under-covered clinical areas that may need to be the focus of further modelling effort according to this paradigm.

This paper develops a first map of SNOMED-CT concepts covered by archetypes in a repository by creating a so-called terminological Shadow. This is achieved by mapping appropriate SNOMED-CT concepts from all nodes that contain archetype terms, finding the top two category levels of the mapped concepts in the SNOMED-CT hierarchy, and calculating the coverage of each category. A quantitative study of the results compares the coverage of different categories to identify relatively under-covered as well as well-covered areas. The results show that the coverage of the well-known National Health Service (NHS) Connecting for Health (CfH) archetype repository on all categories of SNOMED-CT is not equally balanced. Categories worth investigating emerged at different points on the coverage spectrum, including well-covered categories such as Attributes, Qualifier value, under-covered categories such as Microorganism, Kingdom animalia, and categories that are not covered at all such as Cardiovascular drug (product).