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  • Informatics
  • RadLex

  • About

    To gain the full advantage of images and imaging reports as electronic medical records, radiologists need a unified language to inform, organize, retrieve and analyze them. Other medical terminologies and coding schemes lack specific concepts and terms vital to radiology.

    To address this deficiency, RSNA has produced RadLex(R), a radiology-specific ontology. Implementing RadLex in imaging reports greatly enhances their value for communicating diagnoses, data analysis and research. RadLex is comprehensive, with over 75,000 terms and synonyms, developed with the help of six RadLex organ system committees.

    RadLex also provides a special component, RadLex Playbook – a standard system for naming radiology procedures. To learn more about Playbook, click here.

    Generous support for the development of RadLex has been provided by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) and the cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG) project. RadLex is licensed freely for commercial and non-commercial users. Review and download the license.)


    The term browser to view RadLex’s structure and content on a web platform, available here.

    Uses and Benefits of RadLex

    • Provides standard terms for radiology reporting
    • Contains terms used by structured reporting templates
    • Encodes synonyms to improve report search and data mining
    • Includes standard codes and names for imaging exams
    • Facilitates clinical decision support and data registries
    • Offers a technical standard for workflow, quality improvement and research


    What is an ontology?
    An ontology consists of a standardized set of concepts or terms (i.e. a lexicon), and the relationships between those concepts.  RadLex is an ontology focused on the domain of radiology.

    What is the relationship between RadLex and RadLex Playbook?
    RadLex terms describe concepts related to medical imaging.  RadLex terms may be used in a variety of applications, including radiology reporting, data mining and research, making information more consistent, more accessible and easier to analyze.  RadLex Playbook uses RadLex terms to describe imaging exams, leading to a standardized set of exam names and codes.  Work to harmonize RadLex Playbook with the LOINC system is nearing completion.  The harmonized system is known as the LOINC/RSNA Radiology Playbook, which continues to use RadLex terms to describe radiologic procedures.

    In what languages is RadLex available?
    The comprehensive RadLex terminology is currently only available in English, though it contains a small number of German translations of terms. German and Portuguese translations of RadLex are currently in development and will be published when available.

    How can my healthcare facility utilize RadLex?
    Facilities can make use of RadLex in their reporting processes by implementing reporting templates that incorporate coded RadLex terms in the metadata and body of reports. A library of such templates is available at RadReport.org. RadLex Playbook and the LOINC/RSNA Radiology Playbook can be incorporated into a facility's electronic systems in order to facilitate enterprise integration and registry participation.

    Who can I contact with more questions?
    Comments, questions and suggestions for new or revised terms can be submitted to radlexfeedback@lists.rsna.org

  • Resources

  • RsnaProgram7

    Bioportal Download

    Download the latest RadLex ontology and review additional details, metrics, versions and projects that use RadLex.


    RadLex License

    This RadLex® License permits use of RadLex® and PlaybookTM without charge.


    Release Notes

    Stay up to date on the latest additions and amendments to RadLex terms, preferred names and synonyms.