LOINC® from Regenstrief and SNOMED International have signed a new collaboration agreement facilitating the adoption of standardized terminology to support broadened interoperability of health data exchange around the globe with the goal of enhancing and improving the delivery of healthcare.
The agreement also paves the way forward for coordinated use of SNOMED CT and LOINC by both SNOMED International and Regenstrief, with each retaining editorial control of its respective standard.
In addition to promoting the adoption of practices to facilitate use and interoperability of the terminology standards produced by both organizations, the new agreement targets reduction of current and potential duplication. Serving an increasingly intersecting group of global implementers, the agreement will deliver improved healthcare through standardized terminology and enhanced clinical system interoperability while providing support for providers and users who implement different combinations of both standards.
The new agreement lays the foundation for development of a LOINC extension that aligns with the SNOMED CT model, enabling SNOMED International and Regenstrief to distribute LOINC and SNOMED CT content together to their respective users. The extension will create both SNOMED CT and LOINC codes for all concepts that are shared between the terminologies, making it easy for implementers to have a unified approach to implementing both standards and to meet clinical and regulatory requirements globally.
The 2022 agreement extends a relationship, inaugurated in 2013, which linked the rich clinical semantics of SNOMED to LOINC concepts enabling the identification, exchange and collection of data across health systems. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and further emphasized the importance of coordinated standards to support interoperability.
Looking to the future, annual planning meetings and dedicated agreement liaisons will maintain open lines of communication between the SNOMED CT and LOINC teams, providing opportunities to discuss joint work products and to explore new collaborations.
Owned and governed by 43 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.
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.
“Opportunities to support robust interoperable health information exchange, nationally and globally, are vital to providing the best quality healthcare,” said Marjorie Rallins, DPM, M.S., executive director of LOINC Health Data Standards. “The strategic and diplomatic value in Regenstrief and SNOMED working together should not be underestimated.”
SNOMED International CEO Don Sweete describes the collaboration with LOINC as a major breakthrough. “Globally, our implementers operate in a thriving ecosystem of terminology and messaging standards, breeding a certain element of interdependence.” Sweete goes on to state, “With the aim of easing the challenges for implementers of multiple standards, the agreement with LOINC is one that will go the distance in reducing duplicative efforts, facilitating the path to data sharing and interoperability.”
As the agreement is operationalized, both organizations have shared developments and next steps with their communities. Most recently, ambassadors from each organization communicated the nature of the collaboration agreement in more detail at the LOINC Conference, October 24-27 at Les Pensières Center for Global Health in Annecy, France, and the SNOMED CT Expo held in September 2022.
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/
LOINC® was created in 1994 at Regenstrief Institute in an effort to facilitate interoperability in healthcare. Today, the LOINC coding system contains almost 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.