Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes for Laboratorians.
The Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) system is supposed to facilitate interoperability, and it is the federally required code for exchanging laboratory data. To provide an overview of LOINC, emerging issues related to its use, and areas relevant to the pathology laboratory, including the subtleties of test code selection and importance of mapping the correct codes to local test menus. This review is based on peer-reviewed literature, federal regulations, working group reports, the LOINC database (version 2.65), experience using LOINC in the laboratory at several large health care systems, and insight from laboratory information system vendors. The current LOINC database contains more than 55 000 numeric codes specific for laboratory tests. Each record in the LOINC database includes 6 major axes/parts for the unique specification of each individual observation or measurement. Assigning LOINC codes to a laboratory's test menu should be a defined process. In some cases, LOINC can aid in distinguishing laboratory data among different information systems, whereby such benefits are not achievable by relying on the laboratory test name alone. Criticisms of LOINC include the complexity and resource-intensive process of selecting the most correct code for each laboratory test, the real-world experience that these codes are not uniformly assigned across laboratories, and that 2 tests that may have the same appropriately assigned LOINC code may not necessarily have equivalency to permit interoperability of their result data. The coding system's limitations, which subsequently reduce the potential utility of LOINC, are poorly understood outside of the laboratory.
Archives of pathology & laboratory medicine. 2020 Feb;144(2):229-239.
Authors: Michelle Stram, Tony Gigliotti, Douglas Hartman, Andrea Pitkus, Stanley M Huff, Michael Riben, Walter H Henricks, Navid Farahani, Liron Pantanowitz