LOINC Development: Regenstrief Institute, Inc and the LOINC Committee
- LOINC Highlights: Design, Endorsements, and Adoption
- LOINC Acknowledgments: Funding Supporters
History, Purpose, and Scope
The LOINC effort is housed in the Regenstrief Institute, an internationally respected non-profit medical research organization associated with Indiana University. LOINC was initiated in 1994 by the Regenstrief Institute and developed by Regenstrief and the LOINC committee as a response to the demand for electronic movement of clinical data from laboratories that produce the data to hospitals, physician's offices, and payers who use the data for clinical care and management purposes.
The purpose of the LOINC® database is to facilitate the exchange and
pooling of results for clinical care, outcomes management, and research. Currently,
most laboratories and clinical services use HL7 to send their
results electronically from their reporting systems to their care
systems. However, the tests in these messages are identified by means of their internal, idiosyncratic code values. Thus, the care system cannot fully
"understand" and properly file the results they receive unless they
either adopt the producer's laboratory codes (which is impossible if
they receive results from multiple sources), or invest in the work to
map each result producer's code system to their internal code system.
LOINC codes are universal identifiers for laboratory and other clinical
observations that solve this problem.
The scope of the LOINC effort includes laboratory and other clinical observations. The laboratory portion of the LOINC database contains the usual categories of chemistry, hematology, serology, microbiology (including parasitology and virology), toxicology; as well as categories for drugs and the cell counts, antibiotic susceptibilities, and more. The clinical portion of the LOINC database includes entries for vital signs, hemodynamics, intake/output, EKG, obstetric ultrasound, cardiac echo, urologic imaging, gastroendoscopic procedures, pulmonary ventilator management, selected survey instruments (e.g. Glasgow Coma Score, PHQ-9 depression scale, CMS-required patient assessment instruments), and other clinical observations.