Back to News

Quality Care Metrics and SNOMED

In the recent issue of  World of Irish Nursing & Midwifery (WIN)  Maureen Flynn, Director of nursing ONMSD, QI Connections lead, HSE National Quality Improvement looked at quality care metrics (QCM).  Many nurses and midwives, across all areas of practice, use a standardised approach to collect QCM data. With the backdrop of Covid-19, the need to be ready for the digital era has never been greater. An innovation is the use of the SNOMED platform which contains clinical terminology listings for use in electronic health records (EHRs). This means that nursing and midwifery terminology is now being coded similar to other health professionals.


The systemised nomenclature of medicine (SNOMED) clinical terminology (CT) enables QCM data to be recorded, stored, retrieved and managed for analytics in a standardised, reusable format. The platform contains the clinical reference terminology for use in electronic health records. This ensures consistency of healthcare data during transmission from one system to another. In April a new release of the Irish edition of SNOMED CT was published, which includes a reference set (refset) called the ‘Ireland Nursing and Midwifery Quality Care-Metrics’.


In 2020, this work was introduced progressively in the HSE with the active support of the SNOMED CT National Release Centre working together with the HSE teams that are developing governance and standardisation around data. The resulting dataset specification management process is recognised as now becoming a great resource. The DSMP is built on four key principles which is the core to every system: data is an asset, accessible, shareable across and between institutions in accordance with legislation, common vocabulary and data definitions.

The seven QCM datasets include; acute care, older persons services, children’s services, intellectual disability services, public health nursing, mental health services and midwifery services. The acute care SNOMED CT listing is complete and available for use. 


SNOMED CT represents coded terms that may be used within EHRs to capture, record, and share clinical data for use in healthcare organisations3 and is recommended for the adoption by HIQA for Ireland.  Having the codes is a key component supporting ICT solutions that enable the retrieval of meaningful clinical information. This also improves the ability of nurses and midwives to code, retrieve and analyse clinical data.

This standardised refset adapted for an Irish health context is now available for system developers to use. This data illuminates the contribution of nursing to safe and effective care, and provides the evidence and assurance that quality of care provided is a priority for the professions.

Get involved

At your next team, unit or ward meeting you might like to talk about the QCM data for your area and explore how clinical terminology codes are being used in the data collected. You could also ask your nurse or midwife manager for more information on the data for your specialist area.

Further information

The SNOMED platform can be accessed via: SNOMED Platform

To read about this topic and the development of standardised language read: Digital leadership group nursing and midwifery terminologies report

Contact details:

Theresa Barry

Clinical Terminology Architecture Lead

Enterprise Architecture, Office of CIO


Mobile: +353 87 0512 546