Current Build Code System

Orders and Observations Work Group Maturity Level: 5Normative Use Context: Not Intended for Production use

Normative Candidate Note: This page is candidate normative content for R4 in the Observation Package. Once normative, it will lose it's Maturity Level, and breaking changes will no longer be made.

This is a code system defined by the FHIR project.


Defining URL:
Name:Observation Category Codes

Observation Category codes.

Committee:Orders and Observations Work Group
OID:2.16.840.1.113883.4.642.1.404 (for OID based terminology systems)
Source ResourceXML / JSON

This Code system is used in the following value sets:

Observation Category codes.

This code system defines the following codes:

social-history Social HistorySocial History Observations define the patient's occupational, personal (e.g., lifestyle), social, and environmental history and health risk factors, as well as administrative data such as marital status, race, ethnicity and religious affiliation.
vital-signs Vital Signs Clinical observations measure the body's basic functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, height, weight, body mass index, head circumference, pulse oximetry, temperature, and body surface area.
imaging ImagingObservations generated by imaging. The scope includes observations, plain x-ray, ultrasound, CT, MRI, angiography, echocardiography, and nuclear medicine.
laboratory LaboratoryThe results of observations generated by laboratories. Laboratory results are typically generated by laboratories providing analytic services in areas such as chemistry, hematology, serology, histology, cytology, anatomic pathology, microbiology, and/or virology. These observations are based on analysis of specimens obtained from the patient and submitted to the laboratory.
procedure ProcedureObservations generated by other procedures. This category includes observations resulting from interventional and non-interventional procedures excluding laboratory and imaging (e.g., cardiology catheterization, endoscopy, electrodiagnostics, etc.). Procedure results are typically generated by a clinician to provide more granular information about component observations made during a procedure, such as where a gastroenterologist reports the size of a polyp observed during a colonoscopy.
survey SurveyAssessment tool/survey instrument observations (e.g., Apgar Scores, Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA)).
exam ExamObservations generated by physical exam findings including direct observations made by a clinician and use of simple instruments and the result of simple maneuvers performed directly on the patient's body.
therapy TherapyObservations generated by non-interventional treatment protocols (e.g. occupational, physical, radiation, nutritional and medication therapy)
activity ActivityObservations that measure or record any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness. Not under direct supervision of practitioner such as a physical therapist. (e.g., laps swum, steps, sleep data)


See the full registry of value sets defined as part of FHIR.

Explanation of the columns that may appear on this page:

LvlA few code lists that FHIR defines are hierarchical - each code is assigned a level. See Code System for further information.
SourceThe source of the definition of the code (when the value set draws in codes defined elsewhere)
CodeThe code (used as the code in the resource instance). If the code is in italics, this indicates that the code is not selectable ('Abstract')
DisplayThe display (used in the display element of a Coding). If there is no display, implementers should not simply display the code, but map the concept into their application
DefinitionAn explanation of the meaning of the concept
CommentsAdditional notes about how to use the code