Veterinary Medical Informatics
Veterinary Medical Informatics at Virginia Tech is an interdisciplinary academic, research, and service program within the Office of Research and Graduate Studies and the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.
We maintain the Veterinary Extension of SNOMED CT© (VetSCT).
SNOMED CT© is the most comprehensive clinical terminology in use around the world for human medical records. Our lab has worked closely with SNOMED CT for more than 20 years, developing the terminology and ultimately becoming the maintenance organization for the Veterinary Extension of SNOMED CT (VetSCT). It is important for veterinary medicine to maintain a close connection to human and public health, and implementing shared standards like SNOMED CT is a critical aspect of that connection.
We support terminology implementation by veterinary organizations through the following:
- subsetting standardized terminologies
- AAHA Problem and Diagnosis Terms
- Small Animal Specialty Problem and Diagnosis Terms
- AAEP Problem and Diagnosis Terms
- Terminology Services for USDA National Animal Health Lab Network
- aligning local terminologies with standardized terminologies
- consulting with organizations on recommendations for implementing standardized terminologies in their systems
See the Veterinary Terminology Services website for more information.
- We study conceptual and structural features of the medical information unique to animals.
- We assist in analysis and development of medical information models, databases, and systems.
- We study and create biomedical ontologies to enhance interoperability and usability of electronic information.
- We provide post-graduate training opportunities for veterinarians.
- We develop educational programs for veterinary organizations.
- We provide terminological expertise, terminology maintenance, and web service-facilitated access to the terminologies required for laboratory participation in the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN).
- We assist the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) of Veterinary Services in standardization of terminology for VS programs.
- We created and maintain an online browser, the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine-Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT). Developed primarily as a tool to educate stakeholders, the browser has accessed a current version of SNOMED since 2000.
- We provide expertise to the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organization (IHTSDO) for evaluation of relative to its coverage of veterinary nomenclature and for the addition of new concepts that relate specifically to veterinary medicine.
- We created and maintain an integrated Veterinary Extension of the SNOMED CT (VetSCT). Created in 2005, the extension is maintained by veterinarians and adds content needed by veterinary applications of SNOMED CT.
- IHTSDO transferred the content of the SNOMED CT "Non-human subset" from SNOMED CT core to the VetSCT. A "complete" veterinary edition of SNOMED CT necessarily includes core and extension content.
- VetSCT was added as a knowledge source of the National Library of Medicine's Unified Medical Language System (UMLS). This content is integrated with SNOMED CT core for veterinary and public health information systems.
- We maintain a repository of educational materials related to veterinary implementation of terminology standards.
- We developed a SNOMED CT©-based diagnostic terms list for the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) for use in electronic veterinary medical records systems. The AAEP diagnostic terms are still available for download and remain current with each SNOMED CT update.
- We evaluated the suitability of Structured Product Label (SPL) to digitally represent animal drug labels.
- We analyzed SPL in the preapproval environment for animal drugs.
- We created and maintained the Database of Approved Animal Drug products. Since 2008, FDACVM has hosted this database as AnimalDrugs @ FDA.
- We published the FDACVM list of approved animal drug products, also known as the Green Book) from its inception in 1989 through 2008.
- We developed the Veterinary Antimicrobial Decision Support system (VADS) to facilitate therapeutic decision-making.
Integrated Species Information System
- We developed a terminology for Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS) developed by the Integrated Species Information System.
- We provided terminology expertise to the USGS Integrated Wild Bird Surveillance Database in the expansion of an existing wildlife database to enable integration with surveillance data being collected from multiple institutions.
Informatics is the discipline of science that investigates the structure and properties (not specific content) of scientific information, as well as the regularities of scientific information activity, its theory, history, methodology, and organization.
By extension, veterinary medical informatics endeavors to study the structure and properties of medical information and, particularly, medical information about animals. To date, most attention has focused on practice management systems that feature appointment scheduling, admission records, pharmacy records, accounting functions, cost-analysis, and cost-control functions. Veterinary informatics experts are also developing programs in areas such as diagnostic decision assistance, expert consultant systems for diagnostic and management assistance, drug information systems, and interactive teaching tools.
Events of the recent past have highlighted another role for veterinary medical informatics, namely to facilitate integration of animal medical data into information systems dedicated to supporting public health and responding to threats of bioterrorism and agriterrorism. Finally, government agencies involved in veterinary medicine depend increasingly on sophisticated electronic documents to receive information from the industries they regulate and to communicate with their constituents and with the public.
Much of what can be accomplished in veterinary medical informatics depends on standard means of representing findings and diagnoses, laboratory tests, therapeutic interventions, etc. Unique to veterinary medical informatics is the need to standardize representations of animal anatomy, animal behaviors, and the animals themselves, including the role that animals may serve in production systems or as companions. To that end, VA-MD Vet Med's veterinary medical informatics program emphasizes the study of medical information standards — Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine – Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT), Health Level 7 (HL7), and Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) — and inclusion of veterinary medical content therein.