Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do i need any license?

If your product incorporates data from the UMLS®, you must have a license.

What can i use HaVoc for?

HaVoc a simple REST API to quickly build smart health apps powered by health/biomedical vocabularies.

  • Get all synonyms, abbreviations of a medical term: “CHF” => congestive heart failure, heart failure and so on. Access over 12.8 million synonym terms.
  • Perform class based queries, e.g. get all drug brand names for all antibiotics.
  • Create an “autosuggest” dropdown for disease names or symptoms or even gene names.
  • Get related terms, e.g. get all body parts/anatomical organs related to a disease.
  • Translate/Map codes between 190 biomedical vocabularies and across languages, e.g. Spanish to English and vice versa.

Additional Benefits

  • Roll you own internal vocabulary and perform all the operations above.
  • Use Docker instances to create a load balanced cluster setup.
  • Battle tested in production use in several Healthcare web apps, big data applications using Solr, Elastic Search and Apache Spark.

Can I get support to get this API set up for us?

Absolutely! Just shoot us an email at

Why did you create this API?

It was one of late spring days in NYC, we were coding our patient portal app for the New York eHealth Collaborative Challenge. They provided us with oh-so-SHIN-NY API, but it sent us raw CCDA files and we wanted to display patient friendly lab result names. So we coded up this API that was called by our Javascript client on the patient portal to display nicer lab names.

How is it different from the UMLS Terminology Services?

Our goal with HaVOC - Health Vocabulary REST API was to create a developer friendly API that abstracts-away a lot of UMLS specific notions to support rapid app development. The UTS provides a full-fledged web services based interface. Additionally, this API server can be hosted and managed locally.