What the terminology service is

The New Zealand Health Terminology Service (NZHTS) is our one-stop source of the standard terminologies and code sets for Aotearoa’s health system.


Use these resources to ensure all health data is high quality and interoperable, enabling patients and clinicians to enjoy better communication and a more joined-up experience.


Our service offers terminology and code set lookups, downloads and syndicated feeds via application programming interfaces (APIs). Health providers and their industry partners can use these APIs to keep their applications up to date with the content we distribute.

Who the service is for

The terminology service is freely available to all New Zealand health entities and their industry partners.

We invite you to register for access whether you’re a software developer, database administrator, solution architect, data analyst or have some other role or interest.

How to use the service

Use the terminology service at API endpoint nzhts.digital.health.nz/fhir to browse, query and download the published code systems, value sets and concept maps.

This API conforms to the HL7® FHIR® (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) standard and supports SNOMED CT Expression Constraint Language (ECL).

See our NZHTS repository on GitHub for some example queries. You can run these queries in the address bar of a web browser or by using an API development tool such as Postman.

A syndication feed alerts users to all new and updated code sets. Use an RSS reader to subscribe to the feed at nzhts.digital.health.nz/synd/syndication.xml. You can download updates in a standard format.

For everyday browsing, we recommend the SNOMED CT Browser from SNOMED International and CSIRO’s Shrimp®.

We operate CSIRO Ontoserver® software on our cloud platform to provide the APIs.

Running a local terminology server

While our service is where you get the content, you’ll need to run a terminology server of your own for production applications. In this way you can meet the workload demands of your own clinical information system or consumer health platform.

There are several commercial products available.

For a free and open source option, we recommend SNOMED International’s Snowstorm terminology server.

Code sets available

The following content is currently available from our service:

  • SNOMED CT NZ Edition
  • MedDRA
  • National Health Index (NHI) code sets
  • Health Provider Index (HPI) code sets
  • HL7 New Zealand FHIR NZ Base Implementation Guide code sets.

New content in the pipeline

We’re working with partner agencies, standards bodies and industry groups to source and publish new content.

Over the coming months we will add:

  • NZ Pathology Observation Code Sets (NZPOCS)
  • Aotearoa Immunisation Register (AIR) code sets
  • CanShare (cancer information sharing) code sets
  • NZ International Patient Summary (NZIPS) code sets
  • Health Sector Agreements and Payments (HSAAP) code sets.

Further out we will add the NZ Medicines Terminology (NZMT).

We create content using our SNOMED International Authoring Platform, Snapper® code set authoring tool and Snap2SNOMED mapping tool.

Getting an account

You’ll need an account to access SNOMED CT and other licensed content of the terminology service.

Follow these two steps:

  1. Register at ihtsdotools.org/#/landing/NZ to become one of our SNOMED CT affiliate users and accept the licence terms presented.
  2. Visit digital.health.nz/fhir and accept the terms of use to create your account.

From there, we’ll enable your access to the licensed content. We can also issue you with an API key for development use.

You’ll be able to login using My Health Account.

The service can also be used without an account, but only to access unlicensed content.

Terms of use and privacy statement

These are the terms of use and privacy statement for the NZ Health Terminology Service (NZHTS), effective 1 November 2022.

This form enables you to accept the terms of use and become a registered user of the service with authenticated access to all licensed content.

Unregistered, anonymous use of the service is also permitted but without access to some licensed content.

These terms of use apply to all service users, registered and unregistered.

About the service

Te Whatu Ora provides the terminology service as a free public good to New Zealand health providers and their industry partners. The service is described on our website.

 

The service centres on an application programming interface (API) that provides an authoritative source for lookups to our chosen standard terminologies and code sets. It is a FHIR® standard API and has the endpoint nzhts.digital.health.nz/fhir.

 

At the launch of the service, the intended users are health software developers who wish to learn about and experiment with the API and the content.

 

The service does not have the high availability, performance and operational support needed for production use in frontline health care systems and accordingly you must not use the service in this way. Support for the service is limited to daytime business hours and there are no promises about availability.

 

The Health Information Standards Organisation (HISO) determines the content that is made available via the terminology service and maintains a content roadmap in partnership with users.

 

Ontoserver® is the software used to provide the terminology service. The Shrimp code set browser and Snapper authoring tool are freely available online tools with links to the terminology service.

 

Ontoserver® is a registered trademark of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia (CSIRO).

Registering as a user

You must register as a service user to get an authenticated account with access to certain licensed content, namely the SNOMED CT International Release and SNOMED CT NZ Edition.

 

To become a registered terminology service user, you must first register with us as a SNOMED CT user at mlds.ihtsdotools.org/#/landing/NZ and accept the SNOMED CT licences presented.

 

You are responsible for keeping your account credentials secure.

 

We will record your name and email address to set up your account and to contact you about the service. We manage your personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act 2020.

 

We may collect de-identified service usage data for analysis and reporting purposes.

 

We will remove your account if you breach the terms of use.

Content licences

You are required to acknowledge and accept the following copyright notices and content licences:

 

  • This material includes SNOMED Clinical Terms™ (SNOMED CT®) which is used by permission of the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO). All rights reserved. SNOMED CT® was originally created by The College of American Pathologists
  • This material contains content from LOINC (org). LOINC is copyright © 1995-2022, Regenstrief Institute, Inc. and the Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) Committee and is available at no cost under the license at loinc.org/license. LOINC® is a registered United States trademark of Regenstrief Institute, Inc
  • HL7® FHIR® Licence and Legal Terms org/fhir/license
  • Read v2 to SNOMED CT map in the SNOMED CT NZ Edition provided by NHS Digital under Open Government Licence (OGL)
  • FHIR NZ Base Implementation Guide published by HL7 New Zealand under the CC0 (no rights reserved) licence
  • HISO standard code sets published under the CC BY-ND 4.0 (attribution, no derivatives) licence.

 

SNOMED® and SNOMED CT® are registered trademarks of the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO).

 

HL7® and FHIR® are registered trademarks of HL7 International.

Staying in touch

We welcome all enquiries about the service by email to standards@health.govt.nz.

 

We will keep registered users up-to-date by email about new content and features of the service, and any changes to the terms of use.

 

Briefings and education about the service will be conducted at our regular SNOMED NZ and HISO online events and on our chat site at forum.hinz.org.nz/c/standards.

Learn more

See the Interoperability Roadmap from the Health Information Standards Organisation (HISO) to learn more about the importance of SNOMED CT, FHIR and terminology services to a simpler, fairer and better health system.

See also:

Contact us

We welcome your feedback and participation. Email us at standards@health.govt.nz or join our chat site at forum.hinz.org.nz.