With the coronavirus now a pandemic, the LOINC team at Regenstrief is working continuously to create new codes to help public health officials around the globe track cases of the virus. Coordinating with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), public health and reference labs, and in vitro diagnostic manufacturers, the team has created about two dozen new codes to identify lab tests and results related to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19.
The codes are part of the LOINC® (Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes) terminology system, created and maintained at Regenstrief, that is used around the world to identify laboratory and other health observations. The standardized terms allow data to be collected and exchanged across health systems. This is especially important during outbreaks of disease. LOINC is available free of charge.
The use of these new codes will make it easier to track cases of COVID-19 in the United States and around the globe. With more complete tracking and data, health leaders can better study the virus and create strategies to contain the outbreak.
The team also created codes during other outbreaks such as Zika in 2015/2016 and SARS in 2013, among others.
LOINC continues to develop more terms for the virus and is welcoming additional requests.
In light of the pandemic, LOINC is hosting a virtual meeting on March 26 at 10 a.m. to discuss the current situation and answer questions related to LOINC coding for SARS-CoV-2. The event is free, and everyone who is interested is invited to attend.
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.
LOINC was created in 1994 at Regenstrief Institute in an effort to facilitate interoperability in healthcare. There was a growing trend to send clinical data electronically between healthcare entities, a practice that is integral today. Today, the LOINC coding system contains more than 92,000 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.