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Drug Terminology and Ontology Integration -- Dissemination, Quality Assurance and Applications.
Biomedical terminologies and ontologies are enabling resources for clinical decision support systems and data integration systems for clinical and translational research. For the past decade, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) has been involved with the development of drug terminologies, such as RxNorm. NLM also collaborates with other agencies on the development and distribution of drug information sources, including the National Drug File-Reference Terminology (NDF-RT) (with the Department of Veterans Affairs), and DailyMed (with Food and Drug Administration). Finally, through the Value Set Authority Center, NLM also serves as the reference for the value sets – including drug value sets – required for use in the Meaningful Use incentive program, in collaboration with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
As a research and development division of NLM, the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications (LHNCBC) supports the development and distribution of NLM products and services. For example, LHNCBC researchers have been closely associated with the development of the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS). The same is true for RxNorm and related resources. In addition to creating derivatives, such as RxTerms, LHNCBC researchers have integrated various external resources with RxNorm, facilitated its adoption by providing graphical and application programming interfaces, developed quality assurance processes for drug terminologies, and illustrated their use in applications.
In this report, we summarize 19 investigations related to drug terminology and ontology performed in our research group over the past decade, as well as 20 shorter communications in which we publicized our interfaces to drug ontologies and illustrated their applications. As it is not possible or desirable to report each study in detail, we first present an overview of these investigations, organized along four dimensions (integration, dissemination, quality assurance and applications). Then, we selected one study representative of each dimension and present it in more detail.