AAHA Problem and Diagnostic Terms

What are the Problem and Diagnosis Terms?

AAHA's Problem and Diagnosis Terms consist of approximately 5,600 clinical signs and diagnostic terms commonly used in companion animal practices in North America. They are mapped to SNOMED codes and available in XML format. They allow the veterinary profession to develop better veterinary practice metrics and benchmarks. 

Petabyte has built upon these codes, analyzing millions of lines of practice data to build an even better diagnostic catalog for AAHA Benchmarking. These terms and Petabyte’s detailed data catalogs are incorporated into the AAHA Benchmarking products.

Your practice does not need to be using the AAHA terms in order to use the benchmarking data – our technology partner, Petabyte, maps whatever terms your practice is using to the AAHA terms (which does not affect your operations). However, you may choose to adopt the terms, for example, when buying or changing your practice information management system (PIMS) software.

Download the terms

Features of the Subset

  • ~3,500 medical concepts to cover over 90% of cases seen in small animal practice (Addison’s disease, adverse reaction to drug)
  • Veterinary specific (feline acne, canine parvovirus infection)
  • ~2,800 additional synonyms of medical concepts (pulmonary collapse ~ atelectasis)
  • Documentation is available
  • Veterinarians are involved in evolution of the terminology as medicine advances

Using the AAHA Problem and Diagnosis Terms

To ensure these terms are available as widely as possible, AAHA's Board of Directors has agreed to release them under reciprocal open-source licenses, without fee or royalty.

Why Standardize?

Standardized veterinary diagnostic terms enable the profession to develop an ecosystem where all partners can freely exchange diagnosis data and benchmark performance. Veterinary practice benchmarks are possible with data standards, whether you're looking for veterinary practice revenue metrics, forward booking rate metrics, or other veterinary industry benchmarks.

Benefits to the practice include:

  • Enhanced case retrieval
  • Local disease prevalence
  • Treatment cost analysis
  • Outcomes assessments
  • Client information
  • New therapies

Standards by the Profession, for the Profession

The American Animal Hospital Association AAHA Electronic Health Record Task Force (EHRTF) produced the AAHA Problem and Diagnosis Terms (a list of terms for incorporation into veterinary hospital information systems) in 2010 to facilitate recording and analysis of patient medical records. AAHA worked with Veterinary Terminology Services Laboratory to align this terminology with the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine - Clinical Terms (SNOMED-CT), a concept -based medical terminology. 

How to use the Terms

For optimal use, the subset should be incorporated into software that supports electronic medical records.