News
October 16, 2023

Regenstrief and SNOMED International broaden collaboration to facilitate interoperability nationally and globally by linking LOINC and SNOMED CT

Marjorie Rallins (left) and Don Sweete (right)

Laboratory terms are initial focus of standardized terminology initiative

INDIANAPOLIS, US and LONDON, UK — With the goal of facilitating broader interoperability of health data around the globe to enhance and improve the delivery of healthcare, LOINC® from Regenstrief and SNOMED International have commenced generation of The LOINC Ontology: A LOINC and SNOMED CT interoperability solution.

The LOINC Ontology supports providers and users who implement different combinations of SNOMED CT and LOINC in health information systems and allows them to meet clinical and regulatory requirements in a single solution. Linked together in a complementary way, SNOMED CT provides the computable framework and LOINC provides laboratory and pathology content in an understood format to countries who do not currently use LOINC.

This standardized terminology initiative to facilitate health information exchange provides new opportunities for growth of LOINC and SNOMED adoption and appreciably improves interoperability between the two standards, which serve an intersecting group of global implementers.

The LOINC Ontology is fully owned by Regenstrief Institute. It will be made available without charge under the existing LOINC royalty free license. SNOMED International members and users will be able to work with LOINC in the same format they already use for SNOMED CT.

Each organization retains editorial control of its respective standard.

To date, more than 24,000 LOINC terms are included in the LOINC ontology preview which will be published in the last quarter of the 2023 calendar year for review and feedback.

“The LOINC Ontology, a LOINC and SNOMED CT interoperability solution, is novel and transformative in providing clinical observation content in an integrated format and accelerates interoperability and supports stakeholders with meeting clinical, regulatory and administrative requirements,” said Marjorie Rallins, DPM, M.S., executive director of LOINC and Health Data Standards at Regenstrief.

LOINC, short for Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes, is a worldwide standard, used in 193 countries and available in 20 languages, for identifying health measurements, observations and documents enabling the identification, exchange and collection of data across health systems. Created and maintained at Regenstrief Institute, the system is free to users.

“Significant commitment and collaboration has been invested by both teams to produce the LOINC ontology preview,” SNOMED International CEO, Don Sweete shared. Sweete further elaborated, “This serves as an excellent illustration of how we have leveraged our mutual expertise to further the goal of interoperability for implementers globally.”

Owned and governed by 48 global Members, SNOMED International is a not-for-profit organization that is charged with setting global standards for health terminology, a critical element of safe and effective healthcare. SNOMED CT is a comprehensive, multilingual healthcare terminology created for use by healthcare professionals to capture the care of individuals in an electronic health record and facilitate sharing, decision support and analytics, to support safe and effective health information exchange.

The two organizations signed a milestone collaborative agreement in 2022 which lay the foundation for creation of the LOINC extension of SNOMED CT. Teams from both organizations working on the extension will meet at the upcoming LOINC Conference and at the SNOMED CT Expo, both to be held in Atlanta, Georgia later this year.

The 2022 agreement extended a relationship, inaugurated in 2013, which linked the clinical semantics of SNOMED to LOINC observational concepts enabling the identification, exchange and collection of data across health systems. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted and emphasized the importance of coordinated standards to support interoperability of health data.

About LOINC®
LOINC® was created in 1994 at Regenstrief Institute in an effort to facilitate interoperability in healthcare. Today, the LOINC coding system contains more than 100,000 terms for everything from a serum alpha 1 antitrypsin level to a zygomatic arch x-ray report. For each concept, LOINC includes 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 research scientists 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.

Sam Regenstrief, a nationally 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.

About SNOMED International
SNOMED International is a not-for-profit organization that owns and develops SNOMED CT, the world’s most comprehensive healthcare terminology product. We play an essential role in improving the health of humankind by determining standards for a codified language that represents groups of clinical terms. This enables healthcare information to be exchanged globally for the benefit of patients and other stakeholders. We are committed to the rigorous evolution of our products and services, to deliver continuous innovation for the global healthcare community. SNOMED International is the trading name of the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation. https://www.snomed.org/

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