A semantic normal form for clinical drugs in the UMLS: early experiences with the VANDF. Academic Article uri icon


  • A semantic normal form (SNF) for a clinical drug, designed to represent the meaning of an expression typically seen in a practitioner's medication order, has been developed and is being created in the UMLS Metathesaurus. The long term goal is to establish a relationship for every concept in the Metathesaurus with semantic type "clinical drug" with one or more of these semantic normal forms. First steps have been taken using the Veterans Administration National Drug File (VANDF). 70% of the entries in the VANDF could be parsed algorithmically into the SNF. Next steps include parsing other drug vocabularies included in the UMLS Metathesaurus and performing human review of the parsed vocabularies. After machine parsed forms have been merged in the Metathesaurus Information Database (MID), editors will be able to edit matched SNFs for accuracy and establish relationships and relationship attributes with other clinical drug concepts.

publication date

  • January 1, 2002