The Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) is an internationally recognized medical vocabulary that enables semantic interoperability across various biomedical terminologies. To use its knowledge, the users must understand its complex knowledge structure, a structure that is not interoperable or is not compliant with any known biomedical and healthcare standard. Further, the users also need to have good technical skills to understand its inner working and interact with UMLS in general. These barriers might cause UMLS usage concerns among inter-disciplinary users in biomedical and healthcare informatics. Currently, there exists no terminology service that normalizes UMLS’s complex knowledge structure to a widely accepted interoperable healthcare standard and allows easy access to its knowledge, thus hiding its workings. The objective of this research is to design and implement a light-weight terminology service that allows easy access to UMLS knowledge structured using the fast health interoperability resources (FHIR) standard, a widely accepted interoperability healthcare standard. The developed terminology service, named UMLS FHIR, leverages FHIR resources and features, and can easily be integrated into any application to consume UMLS knowledge in the FHIR format without the need to understand UMLS’s native knowledge structure and its internal working.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited