CCHIT has mandated that software vendors utilize LOINC codes. I agree with the intent of this but am confused as to why the laboratories are resistant to using them. Many labs put their own unique lab id numbers in place of LOINC codes.
Why is there a push on the software vendors to utilize LOINC codes but there doesn’t seem to be any pressure on the labs? This can be costly for the vendors as well as a useless waste of programming time if the labs don’t or won’t get onboard. The vendors spend programming time and money programming for a national standard that no one uses.
Why wouldn’t the labs have a high interest in LOINC as well? It seems that if they adopted a national standard it would be easier for more vendors to interface with their lab bringing in more revenue.
I believe education and exposure are still key to the labs’ incorporation of LOINC into their processes. Professional societies are starting to support the effort. The AACC annual meeting is repeating the LOINC tutorial brown bag sessions from last year, and the LIS/Medical Informatics and Industry working groups are sponsoring lectures to educate the public. HITSP released their education plan this spring, to further this effort.
The lab and IT personnel task time for other duties are so incredibly tight that a corporate priority needs to be placed on adopting the codes. 3M’s experience of client needs to date have revolved around either: a) the lab is participating in health information exchange or b) the lab has a payer reimbursement requirement for standardized codes.