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

each month. In addition to English, LOINC is available in Estonian, French, German, Greek, Italian and Spanish. Catalan, Dutch and Russian versions are under development.

Users of LOINC include U.S. government agencies involved in health care including the National Library of Medicine, the departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, Indian Health Service, National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

LOINC began in the mid-1990s when Regenstrief investigators, using their extensive experience with electronic medical records, developed the Indiana Network for Patient Care, the nation's first citywide health information exchange. The researcher clinicians found they could receive data from various INPC-member institutions but that the clinical content was difficult to interpret because each used a different code for the same test or observation. A blood sugar result at one institution might be called a blood glucose at another or even something totally different at a third facility. It was like receiving messages in French, Spanish and Italian when all they could understand was English.

Regenstrief investigators saw the need for a lingua franca, and LOINC was born. From the beginning it has been a free and open system, encouraging additions, comments and feedback. Two new versions of LOINC are issued annually, the most recent one this month, with more than 2,000 new terms for tests or clinical observations per release. These new additions are based on requests from end users.

"With support from the National Library of Medicine, Regenstrief Institute and other organizations, we continue developing LOINC as an open, freely available standard. LOINC's growing worldwide adoption is a testament to both the need for a common language and the success of this open approach," Dr. Vreeman said.


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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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