May 17, 2012 – 3M Health Information Systems will release a public version of its Healthcare Data Dictionary as open source software, making it free and available worldwide.

Placing the dictionary, called HDD, in the open source market is part of a contract 3M has reached with the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. The departments will use HDD to enable semantic interoperability for its integrated electronic health record initiative.

Semantic interoperability enables the exchange of data with the meaning of data preserved, such as to normalize test results, which vary depending on the lab doing a particular test and the system it uses.

3M’s HDD maps disparate medical terms to give data context and meaning, and is used to standardize data to make it interoperable and computable, according to the vendor. The public version will be a major subset of the HDD. It will start with the SNOMED CT, LOINC and RxNorm terminologies, and then add ICD-9-CM, ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS. The vendor is soliciting suggestions on other standard terminologies to consider for inclusion under the open source license.

Local terminologies can also be mapped into HDD, enabling organizations to continue collecting data in their existing information systems and then crosswalk the data to industry standards to achieve semantic interoperability.

More information and registration is available at

This story originally appeared at Health Data Management.