Mapping Local Terms to LOINC

After clicking the "Map Local Term to LOINC" button on the main screen, you should see a screen similar to the one shown in the figure below. The following pages describe in detail the screens used to conduct searches within the LOINC database and to interactively map local terms to LOINC terms.

Mapping Screen

The mapping screen is the default screen that is displayed when a user chooses the "Map Local Terms to LOINC" option on the main screen. The screen displays a combination of data from the local term file and the LOINC database. The following sections describe, in more detail, different aspects of the mapping screen.

In the upper left corner of the screen is a box labeled "Local Term File". This box contains several buttons, a drop-down list, and a textbox that let you navigate through the current local term file.

The "Next", "Previous", "First", and "Last" buttons allow you to traverse the terms in the current local term file. The order in which the terms are displayed is controlled by the current sort order of the local terms as displayed in the grid on the "View All Working Set Terms" TAB. To change the order of traversal, simply resort this grid as desired by clicking on the column headings at the top of the grid. The textbox below the buttons shows the row number from the grid for the local term which is currently being displayed on the mapping screen (#: X of Y). So, for example, the user could move from record #186 of 191 to record #187 of 191 by clicking on the "Next" button. You can also move directly to a particular record # by typing the number into the textbox and hitting the Enter key.

The drop-down list labeled "View:" gives you the ability skip local terms based on their mapping status. The default value is "All" which indicates that every record in the local term file can be displayed by navigating through the file using the buttons. Other options include "Mapped Only" which will cause the navigation buttons to skip any local terms which have not yet been mapped to a LOINC code. This option is useful for reviewing existing mappings. The "Unmapped Only" option will cause the navigation buttons to skip any records which have been already been assigned a LOINC term. This option is useful when you are focusing your efforts on mapping unmapped terms.

Mapped LOINC Information

If a local term has previously been mapped to a LOINC term, the "Mapped to" and "Name" fields will be populated with data from the LOINC database. The "Mapped to" field will contain the LOINC number of the term to which the local term is mapped. The "Name" field will contain the LOINC long common name associated with the LOINC code.

Users can edit the value of the "Mapped to" field by typing in a different LOINC number to remap the local term to the different value or double-clicking on the field to un-map the local term (i.e. delete its current LOINC mapping).

RELMA does not restrict the input in this field to LOINC codes. You can enter any text that you like. This feature allows you to map your local codes to codes from other coding systems.

Local Term Information

Beneath the mapped LOINC fields are several fields that contain data from the local term record the user is currently mapping to LOINC. The "OBR-4" and "OBX-3" fields contain the local term's battery and test codes respectively. "Units" is an editable field contains the units of measurement for the local term. The "Sample Values" drop-down control contains sample data as loaded into the RELMA program by the user during the "Import into RELMA" process. The "Limit to Default Specimen" field contains an editable list of default LOINC Systems associated with the local term's lab section (see the lab section of this manual for more information).

The field labeled "Accept or enter OBR name and/or OBX name" contains words from the local term's battery and test description fields. Words from the local term's battery description field are shown in red and can be turned off using the option in the User Preferences dialog (see the "Setting User Preferences" section for more details). Words from the local term's test description field are shown in green. Words that are unknown to RELMA are displayed with a "squiggle" underline.

Note: Any translations created using the "Check the Test Names in Local Term Submission" option described elsewhere in the manual are applied to the raw battery and test description data before being entered into the mapping screen display field.

Local Term Details

The button labeled "Local Term Details" displays a popup box that contains the complete local term record. This screen should resemble the figure below. This screen is handy when parts of the local term are cut off from being displayed on the search screen or when the user desires to view comments which are not displayed on the search screen.

Users can edit the local term's data using this popup box. Once edits have been made, the user simply presses the "Save" button and is returned to the search screen after the changes have been made.

Mapping History

The tab with "Mapping History" will display all mappings made to the currently selected local term. See the figure below. This display is useful for seeing the history of mapping changes in the local term file.

Search Button

The button labeled "Search" executes a search against the LOINC database (the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Enter has the same functionality). For more information, please refer to the "Conducting a Search" section of this manual.

Auto Mapper Search Drop-down Box

The drop-down box labeled "Auto Mapper Search" lets you select whether you use the Auto Mapper Search (which tries to find the LOINC Parts in your search phrase) or the standard Search (which just searches for the words in your search phrase). For more information, please refer to the "Conducting a Search" section of this manual.

Propose Term Button

The button labeled "Propose Term" button takes users to the "Propose a new LOINC" screen. This screen is used to define new LOINC terms the user would like to see created. For more information, please refer to the "LOINC Submissions using RELMA" section.

"Local Words" Boxes

RELMA parses the text associated with each local code and puts each word into a "Local Words" text box located in the center of the screen. The boxes that contain the individual keywords are displayed on the screen by default; however, users may elect to hide the boxes by toggling the "Hide Words" button to an off state. The figure below shows an example of the mapping screen with the keyword boxes hidden.

The figure below shows an example of the mapping screen with the keyword boxes displayed.

By default the keywords in the Test (OBX-3) and Battery (OBR-4) description are copied into the "Local Words" text box, but an option in the User Preferences dialog will also turn off copying the keywords in the Battery (OBR-4) description. One or more of these keywords may be used for searching the LOINC database, which will be discussed in more detail later in this manual.

RELMA automatically converts each keyword to uppercase even though the matches between the "Local Words" and those found in the LOINC database are case-insensitive.

Any special characters in the description, such as those found in the table below, will be translated by RELMA into space characters. For example, if the local description was "GRASS SORGHUM AB.IGE" then "GRASS", "SORGHUM", "AB", and "IGE" would each be placed into their own "Local Words" text box since RELMA would translate the period between "AB" and "IGE" into a space before separating the description into keywords. The exception is when a period appears between two numbers (e.g. 2.5) or before a single number (e.g., .6) and is used to represent a decimal number.

Character Description
& Ampersand
' Apostrophe
( Open Parenthesis
) Close Parenthesis
+ Plus
, Comma
. Period
/ Slash
\ Backslash
: Colon
; Semicolon
= Equal Sign
^ Carat
[ Open Bracket
] Close Bracket
{ Open Curly Brace
} Close Curly Brace
** Double Star
> Greater Than
< Less Than
- Dash

Local Words "Use" Checkboxes

To the left of each "Local Words" text box, under the bold heading "Use", is a Local Words checkbox. When a checkmark appears in the checkbox before a given Local Word, you are telling RELMA that you wish to use that Local Word in a LOINC database search. If there is no checkmark in the checkbox, it tells RELMA that you do not wish to use that Local Word in a LOINC database search. For example, in the figure above the checkboxes before "protein" and "UA" are checked so that both of those are included in the search.

Enabled by default, RELMA automatically places a checkmark next to words copied from the local term's OBR-4 and OBX-3 description fields. Similarly, if a user types a word into a Local Word text box and moves the cursor out of the textbox or presses the enter key, its associated Local Word checkbox will be automatically checked. Users can elect to turn off this automatic behavior by un-checking the "Auto Select Keyword" checkbox using the User Preferences dialog.

If a keyword copied from the description fields of the local term is not present in any LOINC term, the checkbox of the Local Word will not be checked and the word will be excluded from a LOINC database search.

Clearing the Search Inputs

While the RELMA tool automatically populates the Local Words boxes with keywords as the user navigates through their local term file, it is often useful to manually enter search terms into the Local Words boxes. To clear the screen and start a search without any keywords preloaded from the local term file, simply click the "Clear Inputs" button located to the right of the "Search" button. After pressing this button, all the local term file information (and the extra words) should be cleared from the screen, as shown in the figure below, and the user is free to type in new search words.

Reset Limits button

There are many different settings, toggles, and check boxes in RELMA that you can use to help restrict your search results to the terms of interest. After a while it becomes difficult to remember what boxes you have checked and what settings you have enabled. In this situation, the "Reset Limits" button can be used to return the restrictions to their default settings. This can be especially useful in situations where no LOINC terms are being returned and you just want to start over.

Be aware that this button does not clear all limits; rather, it just resets the settings to their default condition. For example, we think that it is very important that the search algorithm include unit checking. So the "Exclude terms inconsistent with local units" is checked by default. If you do want to disable this feature, you will need to do it manually. The subset restriction in the status bar under the search screen should be handled manually.

Results Grid and Tree

Further down on the mapping screen there are two tabs - one for the results grid and one for the results tree. The results grid is a flat, spreadsheet-like display with column headers that represent several of the LOINC database fields (Number, Short Name, Component, Property, etc.). Every time a user performs a search, the results of that search are displayed in this grid. The results tree shows the result LOINCs in their position in the multi-axial hierarchy.

NOTE - Export actions taken against the grid and tree (e.g. Print, Copy to Clipboard) affect either the selected rows or all rows, depending on what you pick on the Configure Export screen. (Other actions taken against the grid affect only the selected rows.)

Rearrange Column Order

To rearrange the column order, select a column by clicking on the column header and then drag the column to the preferred position.

The "Configure Grid" option can be used to select the columns being displayed and the order in which they are displayed on both the grid and the tree. That screen also allows you to reset the display to its default values.

Sort a Column

To sort a column in the grid, click on the column header. Clicking once sorts the grid in ascending order (A to Z). Clicking twice sorts the column in descending order (Z to A).

Sort Multiple Columns

To sort multiple columns, right-click and select "Sort Grid". Sort Grid settings are sticky during a RELMA session - for example:

  1. You search for BLOOD.
  2. You perform a Sort Grid so the results are sorted first by Component, then by System.
  3. You search for SERUM.
  4. The SERUM results are sorted first by Component, then by System.

Resizing a Column

To resize column width or row height, click on the line between two column or row headers and drag to resize the cell to the width or height you desire.


There are three ways to print the data in the grid. The first method uses the keyboard shortcut CTRL+P. The second method is to click on the "Print Grid" button located to the right of the grid. The third method is selecting File > Print Search Results from the menu. All of these methods will display the printer's dialog box and allow the user to customize his or her print job.

Note: The grid/tree must have at least one result before the options for printing will become available for your use.


To map a local term to a LOINC term you may double click on a LOINC result in the grid or click the "Map" button to the right of the grid, which maps the local term to the highlighted LOINC term in the grid.

Exporting Search results

Most of the grids in the RELMA program provide robust options for exporting their contents to other programs. These options include:

  • Copy to Clipboard
  • Save to File
  • Export to Excel
  • Send as Email
  • Print

By default, RELMA's standard action is to copy the highlighted rows to the Windows clipboard. To use this function, just highlight some rows in one of the grids, right click and select the "Export" option from the context menu. The selected rows are now in the Windows clipboard and available for pasting into another application. You can also use the standard CTRL-C keyboard combination.

Copy to the Clipboard is very useful, but sometimes you need more control over which fields are exported. Or you may want your output to go somewhere else. RELMA provides this additional control in the "Configure Export" option.

To use these options you first need to tell RELMA what action you want to perform, which fields to use, and whether to act on all rows or only the selected rows when performing the action. This is done via the "Configure Export" option available on the right click (context) menu and via the button on the mapping screen.

The "Custom Export" Screen allows you to configure your export preferences and then save those settings for the remainder of your RELMA session. Once saved, you execute the desired action simply by choosing the "Export" option from the context menu or by pressing CTRL-E. Each grid and tree in the program has their own "Custom Export" screen so you can configure each one differently to suit your situation.

As shown in the screen shot, there are three main things you need to tell RELMA - what action you want to perform, which fields you want included, and whether to include all rows or only the selected rows. The actions are selected via the radio buttons on the right side of the screen. Only a single action can be selected at one time. The fields from the grid that available for export are listed on the left side of the screen. You check or uncheck fields as desired to get exactly the data that you want. If you want the field names included in the export, check the "Include column headers" box in the lower left of the screen.

When everything is configured as the way you need it, click the "Export and Save Configuration" button. As the name implies, this button does two things. First, it saves all of your selections for this session and this particular grid or tree. Second, it performs the action selected. If you are not ready to do the export at this time, you can use the "Save Configuration" button to save your setting but not perform the action. You can also use the Cancel button to leave the screen without making any changes or performing any action.

After you have saved your export configuration, you can repeatedly execute the selected action for the selected grid by simply clicking the "Export" option from the context menu or by pressing CTRL-E.

Tree Search Results

On the tree search results, the search results are displayed in a hierarchical fashion. This tree is organized identically to the "multi-axial" hierarchy on the search restriction screen.

To map a local term, highlight one of the LOINC codes returned from the search and click the "Map" button the right side of the screen. You can also map a term by double clicking on a LOINC row or from the context menu displayed when you right click on the search results screen.

NOTE - You cannot map a local code to one of the bolded rows of the trees. These rows represent LOINC parts and not LOINC codes per se.

Status Bar

At the very bottom of the screen in the figure above you will see a status bar. Each field of the status bar contains a different text element aimed at increasing the functionality of the RELMA program.

The leftmost field ("Entry #: X of Y") contains information on navigating through your local input file. The first of the two numbers is the record currently displayed in the text boxes at the top of the screen. The second number is the total number of records for the current Local Term File. As you move forward or backward through the Local Term File of local terms, this field will be updated with the new information in order to keep you informed of where you are within the set. If you click on the Clear All button, this box will be empty since you are no longer browsing the current Local Term File but entering search terms manually. As soon as you begin navigating through the set again, the box will resume marking your spot in the file.

The "Units" field is a bimodal indicator of the search restriction to limit search results to those in which the LOINC Property is compatible with the local term's units. The word "Units" will be gray when the restriction is OFF, meaning that terms with inconsistent Properties will still be displayed. The word "Units" will be black when the restriction is ON, meaning that only LOINC terms whose Property matches the local term's units will be displayed. To enable or disable the restriction a user may either click on the word "Units" directly or toggle the checkbox labeled "Exclude terms consistent with local units" located on the Search Constraints screen.

The "Specimen" field is a bimodal indicator of the search restriction to limit search results to those in which the LOINC system is one of the default specimens listed in the "Limit to Default Specimen" textbox on the mapping screen. To enable or disable the restriction a user may either click on the word "Specimen" directly or toggle the checkbox labeled "Exclude terms inconsistent with specimen" located on the Search Constraints screen.

The "Methodless" field is a bimodal indicator that controls whether or not LOINC terms with a value in the Method part are returned during searches. If this field is ON (the word "Methodless" appears black), only terms with NULL methods will be returned. When it is OFF, no restrictions on the method are placed on searches and the word "Methodless" appears gray. To enable or disable the restriction a user may either click on the field directly or toggle the checkbox labeled "Exclude method specific terms" on the Search Constraints screen.

The "Filters" field displays the name of one of the available "common" search filters. When no fitler is selected, the string "No Common Limits" will be displayed. To change filters, use the drop down list located just under the search button.

The "Battery" field controls whether the battery (OBR) name is copied to the search TextBox ("Accept or enter OBR name and/or OBX name"). When the field is ON, the word "Battery" appears black and the battery (OBR) name from the current local term and the test (OBX) name from the local term are automatically copied to the search TextBox when you first switch to that local term. When it is OFF, the word "Battery" appears gray and only the test name is automatically copied to the search TextBox when you first switch to that local term.

The rightmost field displays the number of results found during a search and the time the search took to complete. This field is updated after each search.

Knowledge Base

Users’ Guide

Search Syntax