Publication Date



2022 IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine (BIBM)


Biomedical ontologies provide formalized information and knowledge in the biomedical domain. Over the years, biomedical ontologies have played an important role in facilitating biomedical research and applications. Common quality issues of biomedical ontologies include inconsistent naming of concepts, redundant concepts, redundant relations, incomplete/incorrect concept definitions, and incomplete/incorrect class hierarchies. In this work, we focus on addressing the incompleteness of the class hierarchy in SNOMED CT. We develop a substring replacement approach, leveraging concepts’ lexical features and existing IS-A relations to identify potential missing IS-A relations in SNOMED CT. To evaluate the effectiveness of our approach, we performed both automated and manual validation. For the automated evaluation, we leverage relations from external terminologies in the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) to validate the identified missing IS-A relations. For the manual validation, a randomly selected 100 samples from the results are reviewed by a domain expert. Applying our approach to the March 2022 release of SNOMED CT US Edition, we identified 3,228 potential missing IS-A relations, among which 63 were validated through the UMLS. The evaluation by the domain expert revealed that 89 out of 100 (a precision of 89%) missing IS-A relations are valid cases, showing the effectiveness of this substring replacement approach to facilitate the quality assurance of IS-A relations in SNOMED CT.


Ontologies and Terminologies, Ontology Quality Assurance, SNOMED CT, UMLS

Included in

Neurology Commons



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