August 1, 2022
The American College of Surgeons (ACS) and SNOMED International have entered into a licensing agreement to include American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) references in SNOMED CT.
The focus of the agreement enables SNOMED International to include updated AJCC staging concepts critical to understanding cancer and treating patients, while eliminating outdated AJCC content no longer relevant to clinical care within SNOMED CT.
Evidence-based anatomic staging is critical to understanding cancer and treating patients, and new breakthroughs are opening up evermore promising possibilities for precisely defining a prognosis and recommending a treatment based on a patient’s individual data. The AJCC has developed and compiled cancer staging references for quickly finding important information about different types of cancers. These references and tools are excellent resources for treating patients with cancer.
SNOMED International is a not-for-profit organization that develops and promotes the use of SNOMED CT, a comprehensive, multilingual healthcare terminology created for healthcare professionals to capture the care of individuals in an electronic health record and facilitate sharing, decision support, and analytics for safe and effective health information exchange. The purpose of SNOMED International is to develop, maintain, promote, and enable the uptake and correct use of its terminology products in health systems, services, and products around the world. Up-to-date AJCC content contributes to the comprehensive and quality-assurance nature of SNOMED CT for its members, affiliates, and stakeholders in the US and globally.
“Evidence-based anatomic staging is the critical factor to understanding cancer and treating patients. New breakthroughs in oncologic, radiologic, pathologic, and molecular science are opening up that need to be considered for keeping cancer staging information current and relevant to patients. The AJCC endeavors to consider all of these factors in keeping its staging content current,” said Heidi Nelson, MD, FACS, Medical Director, ACS Cancer Programs. “Moreover, as we continue to find ourselves on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic and move toward trying to get more patients screened and staged for cancer, having the most current staging information available to more clinicians is essential. With this agreement, current AJCC cancer staging content will reach a much wider audience for these important purposes.”
As of April 2022, the ACS and AJCC have enabled the inclusion of the Categories and all Allowable Values (cT1, cN0, cM0, and so on) from the AJCC cancer staging system into the International Edition release of SNOMED CT. Further, the agreement requires historical AJCC and related content, derived from the 5th and 6th editions of the staging manual, to be inactivated as updates occur. Within the scope of the agreement, both parties have committed to review and renew its content annually, where appropriate.
“Cancer’s many challenges can’t be solved without good collaboration. This agreement between the AJCC and SNOMED International will bring the latest evidence-based information on cancer staging to a wider clinical audience that can immediately apply it in their clinical practices. Ultimately, cancer patients beyond the US will benefit from it, too, and more lives will be saved,” said Patricia L. Turner, MD, MBA, FACS, ACS Executive Director.
SNOMED International CEO Don Sweete describes the recently signed licensing agreement with the ACS as representative of the spirit of partnership and commitment to clinical quality growing globally. “The ability to produce comprehensive and clinically informed and assured standards across the breadth of healthcare domains is critical to the safe use of health information technology. The AJCC’s evidence-based work on anatomic staging is the critical factor to understanding cancer and treating patients and a significant addition to the SNOMED CT knowledge base.”