Publication Date



BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making



Biomedical ontologies are representations of biomedical knowledge that provide terms with precisely defined meanings. They play a vital role in facilitating biomedical research in a cross-disciplinary manner. Quality issues of biomedical ontologies will hinder their effective usage. One such quality issue is missing concepts. In this study, we introduce a logical definition-based approach to identify potential missing concepts in SNOMED CT. A unique contribution of our approach is that it is capable of obtaining both logical definitions and fully specified names for potential missing concepts.


The logical definitions of unrelated pairs of fully defined concepts in non-lattice subgraphs that indicate quality issues are intersected to generate the logical definitions of potential missing concepts. A text summarization model (called PEGASUS) is fine-tuned to predict the fully specified names of the potential missing concepts from their generated logical definitions. Furthermore, the identified potential missing concepts are validated using external resources including the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS), biomedical literature in PubMed, and a newer version of SNOMED CT.


From the March 2021 US Edition of SNOMED CT, we obtained a total of 30,313 unique logical definitions for potential missing concepts through the intersecting process. We fine-tuned a PEGASUS summarization model with 289,169 training instances and tested it on 36,146 instances. The model achieved 72.83 of ROUGE-1, 51.06 of ROUGE-2, and 71.76 of ROUGE-L on the test dataset. The model correctly predicted 11,549 out of 36,146 fully specified names in the test dataset. Applying the fine-tuned model on the 30,313 unique logical definitions, 23,031 total potential missing concepts were identified. Out of these, a total of 2,312 (10.04%) were automatically validated by either of the three resources.


The results showed that our logical definition-based approach for identification of potential missing concepts in SNOMED CT is encouraging. Nevertheless, there is still room for improving the performance of naming concepts based on logical definitions.


Ontology and terminology, Ontology enrichment, Logical definition, Summarization model, Concept mapping

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Neurology Commons



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