We use cookies to understand how this site is used and to improve the site to make use easier. We also share details with Google for analytic purposes. For more information, and to understand the limited use we have for your data, see our privacy page.

If you do not want us to handle your data in this way you can eitherstop using this site or set your browser to request that we do not track you. Continued use of this site without setting do not track explicitly provides your authority to make limited use your data.

About concept systems

information modelling has the purpose of organising the information objects, each one representing knowledge about a concept. There is however additional information in an information model about the properties of the information objects, shown as attributes to the objects and operations describing behaviour of the objects. These attributes are not included in the concept systems.

The model is graphically represented using Universal Modelling Language (UML) notation with textual definitions, notes and examples. As a concept system, there are no data attributes in a concept system.

Scope of this concept system

Although this model conforms to an International Standard for health Informatics, the scope is intensionally broad. It has been designed to include not only professional healthcare activity but also self care, care by a healthcare third party such as a parent or carer, and extends to include all aspects of social care.

health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity
World health Organisation

Uses for this concept system

This model can be used as an enterprise view of healthcare for designing the logical models and subsequent platforms for healthcare information systems.

The model assists in understanding how healthcare is organised so provides business analysts with a starting point for their own analysis.

Getting started

The model has been structured into topics to group related concepts together.

If you are looking for a particular concept you can search the model. The search covers term names, deprecated names, alternative names, the definition of the concepts, notes and examples of use.

A useful starting point to help understand this model is to look at a specific topic from the list on this page or to view a concept, from the All concepts page.

The underpinning standard

The model shared through this site conforms with the International Standard ISO 13940:2015 - A system of concepts for the continuity of care published by the organization for Standardization (ISO)">International organization for Standardization (ISO).

This standard builds on the earlier European Standard EN 13940, published as a European Norm in 2007 by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) . That European standard focused on basic concepts necessary for healthcare. The International Standard represents a significant revision, introducing concepts for healthcare processes and broadening applicability.

Both standards provide a concept model in order to graphically describe a concept system within the field of health informatics. This description is intended to clarify the relationships between the concepts and illustrate some of their definitions. The other purpose is to let a concept modelling tool set up a database organising the concept system, in order to keep track of its concepts and relationships, as well as check its consistency.

Relationships to other standards



  • Is the most comprehensive, multilingual clinical healthcare terminology in the world
  • Is a resource with comprehensive, scientifically validated clinical content
  • Enables consistent representation of clinical content in electronic health records
  • Is mapped to other international standards
  • Is in use in more than eighty countries

At its heart it provides the terminology to represent clinical statements in a care record. It has a very close alignment to ContSys and, in particular, allows health matters and healthcare activity (and all of the types of these foundational concepts) to be expressed in care records. Work by the National health service in the UK is identifying how clinical statements in a care record link to ContSys concepts. For example a ContSys health issue can be specialised using SNOMED CT by any SNOMED CT expression matching the SNOMED CT Expression Constraint

<< 404684003 |Clinical finding (finding)|

SNOMED CT does not provide a model for how clinical statements relate to the healthcare business. ContSys is the most appropriate representation of the healthcare business. For example, SNOMED CT can express that a family member had a condition in the past and ContSys can express that the family history is a health issue for the subject of care.

EN ISO 13606 - electronic health record communication

This document specifies a means for communicating part or all of the electronic health record of one or more identified subjects of care between electronic health record systems, or between electronic health record systems and a centralised electronic health record data repository. It can also be used for electronic health record communication between an electronic health record system or repository and clinical applications or middle-ware components (such as decision support components), or personal health applications and devices, that need to access or provide electronic health record data, or as the representation of electronic health record data within a distributed (federated) record system.

The standard comes in five parts; of these part 1 and part 3 have the greatest linkage to ContSys.

Part 1: Reference model

Part 1: Reference model includes a more detailed set of concepts for care records and the data classes that are instantiated to hold data. The model on this site includes additional concepts informed by that standard.

Part 3: Reference archetypes and term lists

Part 3: Reference archetypes and term lists defines term lists that each specify the set of values for the particular attributes of the Reference Model defined in ISO 13606-1. It also defines normative and informative Reference Archetypes that enable frequently-occurring instances of electronic health records data to be represented within a consistent structure when communicated using this document. These reference archetypes have explicit relationships to ContSys. These reference archetypes are intended to be used to form usable and sharable archetypes conforming to Part 2: Archetype Interchange Specification.

An implementation using the reference archetypes provided in this part is more likely to conform to ContSys.

Published on Friday, October 18, 2019 by Nicholas O