The Meaningful Use regulations specify a particular version of LOINC. Do I have to use that version, or can I use the latest version?
The Meaningful Use Stage 2 Final Rule states in a couple of places that they have created a mechanism for using newer versions of LOINC than the versions available at the time the rule was promulgated. Basically, yes you can use the newer version, unless the HHS Secretary specifically prohibits it (which we think would be unlikely). Here are a couple of excerpts that discuss this change:
We have established a process for adopting certain vocabulary standards, including SNOMED CT® and LOINC®, which permits the use of newer versions of those standards than the one adopted in regulation. We refer readers to section IV.B for a discussion of ‘‘minimum standards’’ code sets and our new more flexible approach for their use in certification and upgrading certified Complete EHRs and certified EHR Modules. Readers should also review § 170.555, which specifies the certification processes for ‘‘minimum standards’’ code sets.
We appreciate the comments submitted in support of our proposal and are revising § 170.555 such that, unless the Secretary prohibits the use of a newer version of a ‘‘minimum standards’’ code set identified in subpart B of part 170, the newer version could be used voluntarily for certification and implemented as an upgrade to a previously certified Complete EHR or certified EHR Module without adversely affecting the EHR technology’s certified status.
Here is the extract from 170.555 [Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 171 / Tuesday, September 4, 2012 / Rules and Regulations 54292]:
(a) ONC–ACBs may certify Complete EHRs and/or EHR Module(s) to a newer version of certain identified minimum standards specified at subpart B of this part, unless the Secretary prohibits the use of a newer version for certification.
(b) Applicability of a newer version of a minimum standard.
(1) ONC–ACBs are not required to certify Complete EHRs and/or EHR Module(s) according to newer versions of standards identified as minimum standards in subpart B of this part, unless and until the incorporation by reference of a standard is updated in the Federal Register with a newer version.
(2) A certified Complete EHR or certified EHR Module may be upgraded to comply with newer versions of standards identified as minimum standards in subpart B of this part without adversely affecting its certification status, unless the Secretary prohibits the use of a newer version for certification.