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Lingua franca critical for electronic medical records and health information exchange
Date:12/22/2011

INDIANAPOLIS A universal method of identifying medical test results and other clinical measurements is essential for health information exchange, which requires a common terminology to ensure that medical data can be recorded, transferred and ultimately used when and where the patient needs it.

A reference compendium of standardized codes for the 2,000 most frequently reported laboratory test observations, released by the Regenstrief Institute, enables hospitals, medical laboratories, physician offices and others to focus on approximately 98 percent of tests as they develop electronic medical record systems and engage in health information exchange.

Nearly 20 years ago, Regenstrief Institute investigators created Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes, known as LOINC, a standardized medical terminology system and today it is the most accepted international standard of names and codes for medical measurements. Using LOINC, the results of the same cholesterol level test, or the same clinical observation blood pressure reading, for example, can be compared by different institutions for the purposes of patient care, research, quality assessment or outcomes management. These codes are critical to computerized transmission of medical information.

"Mapping local test names to a universal vocabulary like LOINC is an essential ingredient to connect the medical data sources that clinicians crave but that are too often inaccessible to them when and where they need it. The LOINC Mapper's Guide to the Top 2000 Lab Observations makes it much easier for implementers to find the right LOINC code for their highest volume tests," said Regenstrief investigator Daniel Vreeman, PT, DPT, assistant research professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Vreeman directs LOINC development activities at Regenstrief.

There are more than 14,500 LOINC users in 145 countries, with about 400 new members adopting LOINC
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Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen
caisen@iupui.edu
317-274-7722
Indiana University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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