System provides common language for seamless exchange of health data in 179 countries
Credit: Regenstrief Institute
INDIANAPOLIS – LOINC®, created and maintained by the Regenstrief Institute, is amplifying its global work to help track the coronavirus by releasing new standardized codes for healthcare systems’ laboratory tests, clinical observations and other data.
Health systems often have their own format for recording patient information which makes sharing and tracking data between systems difficult. LOINC is a lingua franca that is especially important when outbreaks of diseases like COVID-19 occur. The codes are crucial to facilitating tracking of the virus by allowing records to be seamlessly exchanged between health systems and public health entities around the world. LOINC has users in 179 countries.
In its newest release, LOINC, which stands for Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes, added 1,231 new standardized terms, including about 150 codes related to the coronavirus.
Since January, LOINC has been coordinating with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), public health and reference labs, and in vitro diagnostic manufacturers to create new special use codes to collect and share SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 testing results.
“Sharing interoperable data is vital to tracking and understanding the virus. LOINC codes provide a standard way to represent the lab test data so that the information can be shared and analyzed at a global level,” said Swapna Abhyankar, M.D., interim director for LOINC.
In addition to the new COVID-19-related terms, the new LOINC release includes hundreds of new terms for laboratory and clinical test results as well as survey and questionnaire responses, including surveys related to critical issues such as food security and other social determinants of health.
LOINC codes are free. Version 2.68 is available now. Download it here.
The terminology database now has 93,600 terms.
LOINC was created in 1994 at Regenstrief Institute in an effort to facilitate interoperability in healthcare. Today, the LOINC coding system contains more than 93,000 terms for everything from a serum alpha 1 antitrypsin level to a zygomatic arch x-ray report. For each concept, LOINC covers many other rich details, such as synonyms, units of measure and carefully crafted descriptions.
About Regenstrief Institute
Founded in 1969 in Indianapolis, the Regenstrief Institute is a local, national and global leader dedicated to a world where better information empowers people to end disease and realize true health. A key research partner to Indiana University, Regenstrief and its researchers are responsible for a growing number of major healthcare innovations and studies. Examples range from the development of global health information technology standards that enable the use and interoperability of electronic health records to improving patient-physician communications, to creating models of care that inform practice and improve the lives of patients around the globe.
Regenstrief Institute is celebrating 50 years of healthcare innovation. Sam Regenstrief, a successful entrepreneur from Connersville, Indiana, founded the institute with the goal of making healthcare more efficient and accessible for everyone. His vision continues to guide the institute’s research mission.
Cindy Fox Aisen