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20220213 HL7 FHIR Terminology

Terminology is a required foundational component for interoperable data exchange in HL7® FHIR® and other clinical data standards. This online class takes an in-depth look at the use of standard terminologies within FHIR artifacts (data types, resources, profiles, etc.) and FHIR terminology services in FHIR implementation guides and applications.

The structures and use of the primary FHIR terminology resources, operations and coded data types are covered, including how these terminology artifacts and capabilities are used in support of coded elements in other FHIR resources and profiles.

The class will also discuss how terminology content and capabilities are made accessible and useable within a FHIR terminology service and how to use, request or create terminology (value sets and code systems) in your FHIR IG or resource proposal.

Topics to be covered may include:

  • Further exploration of primary FHIR terminology service operations ($expand, $lookup, $validate-code, $subsumes, $translate)
  • Advanced terminology searching techniques
  • FHIR implicit value sets (SNOMED CT and other)
  • SNOMED CT Expression Constraint Language (ECL) in value set definitons
  • Code system supplements
  • Using terminology content in THO (
  • Submitting and managing a UTG proposal
  • Requesting new external (non-HL7) terminology content

Live examples from FHIR terminology servers will be used where possible to examine and illustrate the concepts.

Target Audience
  • Standards developers
  • Implementers
  • Terminologists
  • Data modelers
  • Architects
Learning Outcomes
  • Describe how code systems, value sets and related vocabulary artifacts and principles are applied within the FHIR terminology resources and data types
  • Describe the typical capabilities and usage scenarios of a FHIR terminology service
  • Use FHIR terminology resources, data types and operations for creating specifications and implementing solutions that interoperably represent and exchange coded data
  • Explain how the FHIR terminology resources and data types support the needs for coded data in other FHIR resources and profiles
  • Consider when and how to use terminology-based searching in applications
  • Define and use FHIR implicit value sets
  • Understand and use advanced terminology capabilities including SNOMED CT ECL
  • Understand and use code system supplements
  • Understand how to find and use terminology content in THO (
  • Understand how to submit a UTG proposal and follow it through to completion
  • Understand when how to request updates or additions to external terminology content through HTA
  • Introduction to HL7 FHIR (or equivalent familiarity with the FHIR standard and concepts)
  • Introduction to Vocabulary in HL7
  • Basic familiarity with one or more standard healthcare terminologies or classifications (e.g., SNOMED CT, LOINC, ICD-10) and terminology artifacts (e.g., code system, value set, mapping])
  • FHIR for Specifiers (optional, but may be helpful)

Heather Grain

  • Co-Chair, HL7 Vocabulary Work Group for more than 10 years
  • Inaugural chair HL7 Terminology Authority
  • Actively involved in HL7 and terminology standards/development and modelling for more than 20 years
  • Past expert to SNOMED International for (Quality, Content, Education and Implementation)
  • Convenor ISO TC215 Health Informatics Semantic Content WG
  • Co-chair openEHR Education Program Group