Digital health namespace identifiers

Identifiers for the terminologies, code systems and other namespaces used in digital health.

We are establishing a standard set of identifiers for the many terminologies, code systems and other namespaces used to represent people, places and things in the digital health ecosystem.

Some important examples are the namespaces associated with:

  • SNOMED CT – the international system of terminology for health and social care
  • New Zealand Medicines Terminology – representing the medicines we use
  • National Health Index (NHI) number – identifying patients and health service users
  • Health Provider Index (HPI) identifiers – identifying health workers, organisations and facilities
  • Ethnic group codes – used when recording ethnicity.

Each such namespace is identified by a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI). For example, the SNOMED CT identifier namespace has the URI

To identify our own namespaces, we use structured and descriptive URIs based on the domain name. Each URI will resolve to a web page that defines and states the purpose of the indicated namespace.

Here are examples of the namespace identifiers assigned so far:

The 'ns' in the URI is shorthand for 'namespace' or ‘naming system’. The descriptive part of the URI has a structured format based on ISO/IEC 11179 standards naming rules (including using a recognised representation class word as the suffix).

Other namespace identifiers are listed here.

During 2020 we will be introducing online terminology services as support for our namespaces and associated value sets.

Find out more

To get involved or for more information contact [email protected]

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