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.