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About EVS

Since 1997, NCI Enterprise Vocabulary Services (EVS) has provided terminology content, tools, and services to accurately code, analyze and share cancer and biomedical research, clinical and public health information. EVS works with many partners to develop, license and publish terminology, jointly develop software tools, and support harmonization and shared standards. EVS provides the foundational layer for NCI's informatics infrastructure, and plays an important role in federal and international standards efforts (see EVS Use and Collaborations).

These EVS Wiki pages provide extensive details on these and other EVS resources, tools and services.

EVS Terminology

EVS creates, compiles, and cross-maps biomedical terminology needed by NCI and its community. EVS publishes NCI Thesaurus (NCIt) as its core reference terminology and biomedical ontology. EVS also makes available standalone versions of other terminologies and ontologies of special interest, and provides access with extensive cross-mappings to more than 70 terminologies in the NCI Metathesaurus.

  • NCI Thesaurus (NCIt) is NCI's reference terminology and core biomedical ontology, covering some 100,000 key biomedical concepts with a rich set of terms, codes, definitions, and over 200,000 inter-concept relationships. NCIt combined and extended core NCI terminologies within a scientifically and technically rigorous framework. NCIt is now a broadly shared coding and semantic infrastructure resource – nearly half of NCIt concepts include content explicitly tagged by one or more EVS partners (see the shared terminology development wiki page).
  • NCI Metathesaurus (NCIm) provides a broad, concept-based mapping of terms from over 70 biomedical terminologies, whose 3,600,000 terms are mapped to 1,400,000 concepts representing their shared meanings. NCIm gives access to a great diversity of biomedical terminologies, with mappings between them. NCIm also provides a rich reference resource for a broad range of users seeking definitions, synonyms, codes, and other information.
  • Other Terminologies: EVS licenses, processes and makes available individually through EVS systems, many other terminologies of special interest to NCI and the research community. EVS has helped create, harmonize with, and publish several of these terminologies.  NCI Term Browser publishes all terminologies hosted by NCI EVS in an integrated environment, providing search, cross-links, and a user friendly interface to ICD-9-CM, CTCAE, MedDRA, SNOMED CT, NDF-RT, GO, and many other terminologies and ontologies used by NCI and its partners.
  • Terminology Mappings: Pairwise mappings between several supported terminologies have also been created and published to support data translation and cross-reference. As with standalone terminologies above, such mappings generally reflect special EVS community interests and collaborations.
  • Terminology Value Sets and Data Standards: EVS works with many partners to create and support standardized terminology for biomedical coding.  Hundreds of NCIt subsets and other code lists are maintained by EVS, and most are now available as CTS 2 value sets following the draft Common Terminology Services Release 2 (CTS 2) specification. In caDSR, they provide a pre-curated standard set of meanings for use by metadata curators.  More than 200 value sets are currently defined in EVS, most as subsets of NCIt covering a range of standards from many EVS partners.  Key EVS supported terminology standards include:
    • FDA Terminology: EVS is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop and support controlled terminology in several areas. More than 10,000 FDA terms and codes are stored in NCIt.

    • Federal Medication Terminology: EVS is also a partner in the Federal Medication (FedMed) collaboration, which is developing shared FedMed Terminology (FMT) and standards to improve the exchange and public availability of medication information.

    • CDISC Terminology: The Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC) -- an international, non-profit organization that develops and supports global data standards for medical research -- has chosen EVS as its terminology partner.

    • NCPDP Terminology: The National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) creates and promotes the transfer of data related to medications, supplies, and services through the development of standards and industry guidance, and now uses NCIt in two of its standards.

    • NICHD Terminology: The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) is working with EVS on the Pediatric Terminology Harmonization Initiative, providing standardized coding for pediatric clinical trial and other research activities.

Making these terminology resources more easily available, mapping between them, harmonizing coding standards, and promoting agreement on best practices, are all core EVS priorities.

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