This section last updated: 2022-07-27 (8 months ago)
RELMA depends upon two Microsoft Access databases for its operation. RELMA.MDB contains all of the data about the LOINC codes plus overhead information needed to run various RELMA program options. The second database is named LMOF3.MDB for the Local Master Observation File. This database is where RELMA stores information you supply about your local codes and their mappings to LOINC.
There are three ways to get your local codes and descriptions into your LMOF database. The first method is to import data from an ASCII text file and is explained in more detail later. The second method would be to enter the data manually, which can be lengthy and time consuming if there are vast amounts of data to be entered. The third method would be to load the LMOF directly using Microsoft Access®.
After you have imported, entered, or loaded your data into RELMA, you can map your local codes to the equivalent LOINC codes using the RELMA map option. After you have started the mapping program, details about your local codes and descriptions are presented on the screen. You can scroll through these records one at a time. The program gives you the opportunity to search all of the words in the local description of each local test for matches on words present in the LOINC database. You can even use wildcards when searching the database. RELMA presents you with a list of LOINC terms whose test/measurement name contains those words or their equivalents you selected to use in the search. You can scroll through the list of matches to find the LOINC record that corresponds to your local test description. When you find a LOINC description that matches your local description, you can store the LOINC code in the LMOF database. The process of matching a LOINC code and description to your local code and description is referred to as mapping. Each mapped term is immediately saved into the database table. This allows you to restart where you left off, without having to complete the mapping task at one sitting.
Details of how RELMA maps your data to the LOINC data are discussed later in this documentation.
The following words and phrases are used throughout the RELMA program and this manual.
Local Term: A concept composed of a code (or name) and a description.
Local Term File: An organized collection of local terms.
Local Word: A word (e.g. "AB", "GLUCOSE", etc.) that is derived from a local term description.
LOINC Database: A Microsoft Access® database published by the Regenstrief Institute that contains LOINC codes and their definitions. This database may also contain information necessary for the operation of the RELMA program.
LMOF Database: A Microsoft Access® database designed to store the user's local terms and mappings between the local terms and LOINC terms.
Mapped Term: This a local term that has previously been mapped to a LOINC term.
Mapping: The process of matching a LOINC term to a local term.
For information on the active, deprecated, discouraged, and trial LOINC status codes, please see "Classification of LOINC term status" in the LOINC Users' Guide.
Assuming you have installed the RELMA program as described in the installation section, you are now ready to run the RELMA program. As with many programs on Windows, there are numerous ways to launch RELMA.
Type the word RELMA into the Windows search bar. The RELMA application should show up in the search results. See the figure below.
While the RELMA program loads, you will see a screen similar to that shown in the figure below. This screen provides copyright information for the use and distribution of the RELMA program and LOINC database. The progress bar at the bottom of the screen will update you as to where the program is in the loading process.
As described earlier, the RELMA program depends on the LOINC and LMOF Microsoft Access databases. During the loading process the program attempts to open these databases and verify their contents. If the program cannot find the LOINC database, you will be asked to navigate to the location where it resides via a Windows Explorer window like the one shown in the figure below.
To choose a database, click on the database name and then click the [Open] button. The RELMA program will continue loading using the new directory paths. After the program has finished loading, click the [Continue] button to advance to the main menu screen.
In a default installation both the RELMA.MDB and LMOF3.MDB databases will be located in the C:directory. You can, if you chose, move either of these database to a non-standard location. If you decide to relocate either of these datdabases you can use the "Set User Preferences" option to tell RELMA about their new location.
Note: The directory paths to the LOINC and LMOF databases are stored in a hidden configuration file (user.config), which is located in a hidden directory. You can manually change the paths before running the program, but an incorrect assignment will bring up a box similar to the one in the figure below.
RELMA supports the following command line parameters. These parameters allow you override the default locations of the program databases.
Example: /loincdb C:\Users\Public\Documents\RELMA\AlternateLMOF.MDB
Example: /lmofdb C:\Users\Public\Documents\RELMA\AlternateRELMA.MDB
After RELMA verifies the directory paths, the program may prompt you with an out-of-date message, similar to the one shown in the figure above, regarding your RELMA.MDB database. RELMA looks at the RELMA.MDB database on your local machine and determines whether the database is a supported version. If the RELMA program determines your LOINC database to be out-of-date, you will be unable to run the RELMA program until you obtain the latest version.
Beginning with LOINC release 2.67, you are required to log in to RELMA using your loinc.org account in order to use several features, including the enhanced SOLR search engine and new Details pages for LOINC terms, Parts, and Answer lists. For now, the old functionality of running searches and creating Details pages locally in the old format has been retained, and if you do not want to log in, you can switch to the old Lucene search engine on the User Preferences screen. Be aware, this option will be eliminated in a future version of RELMA. If you don't already have an account, you can easily create one by visiting the loinc.org web site.