Current versions of LOINC and RELMA released December 29, 2010.
New LOINC Content
LOINC version 2.34 contains 61,255 terms, an increase of 2288 since the June 2010 version. Approximately 695 terms have been edited. A total of 1,704 terms have been deprecated. Highlights included in this release are the, additional , , and a detailed cytogenetics testing template. We continue to work with the ACLA in the development of order sets.
Support for Multiple Superceding LOINC Concepts
The MAP_TO field of the LOINC table is only structured to store one superceding LOINC code for a deprecated or discouraged concept, yet there are times when a term is deactivated because of its ambiguity and there is more than one possible replacement term. To accomodate this use case, we have created an additional table LOINC_MAP_TO that is distributed as a separate table with the LOINC Microsoft Access database and as a separate file in the ASCII text version. This table has a simple structure with 3 fields:
- LOINC - the deprecated LOINC code
- MAP_TO - superceding LOINC code
- COMMENT - narrative text that explains the rationale for using this replacement code
For now, the current MAP_TO field in the LOINC table will remain populated as it always has been, but we plan to remove it in a future LOINC release (target Decemeber 2011).
We have also updated RELMA so that it displays all of these mappings for deprecated and discouraged LOINCs on the details screen.
New RELMA Features
- RELMA now uses the open source search engine for all searching. This is a major change for RELMA (hence the 5.0 version number!) and one that greatly enhances the search capabilities. See the RELMA manual or the program help to see the full list of enhancements available. You can also now search for LOINC numbers on the simple search screen and mapping screen. Part of this change is that semicolon (';') is now an alternate phrasing for 'OR'. This lets you easily enter the LOINC numbers to search for, as in "2857-1; 14120-0".
- Previously, we distributed separate builds of RELMA for multilingual searching in languages other than Enlgish. In this latest version, RELMA now uses the open source Lucene engine for all of its searching, including foreign languages. RELMA builds the necessary indexes for searching in these languages when the user selects a preferred linguistic variant for searching. Thus, we no longer need to distribute separate builds for each additional language.
IMPORTANT INSTALLATION NOTE
- However, the foreign language searches that utilize the new Lucene indexing are still considered to be in beta testing and may not function as intended or expected. Please examine the results of foreign language searches carefully before using. If you encounter any problems or have suggestions for improvement, please contact the RELMA development team.
- The Intelligent Mapper has be optimized for lab terms and may not work as well for clinical terms. To reflect this change, the Intelligent mapper is now called the "Lab Auto Mapper." The Lab Auto Mapper is over 20X faster now. A local term file with 1000 local terms should take less than 30 minutes to process. The Lab Auto Mapper now defaults to preferring common tests so common tests will appear first in the results. The Lab Auto Mapper now tries to detect any specimen(s) in the OBR and OBX description in the local term. If it cannot find a specimen, the Lab Auto Mapper tries to guess the specimen using certain rules. The Lab Auto Mapper now tries to detect any method(s) in the OBR when there is an OBR description and it is different from the OBX description. Total, average, and median # of LOINCs examined and execution time are now displayed on the Intelligent Mapper report.
- We have added new fields to the LOINC Proposal form allowing users to send more applicable information related to new terms. The multiple comment fields have also been removed. All comments relating to the new term should now be entered in the single comment box near the bottom of the screen.
- When you propose a new LOINC, RELMA now reminds you to enter an answer list if the new LOINC's Scale = 'Ord'.
- RELMA will now display images from the LOINC server on some of the detail pages. Since these images are stored on the Internet, you must be connected to the Internet to see the images.
- A help system has been integrated into the RELMA program. Currently, help is available from the "Part Search" screen, the "LOINC Simple Search" screen, and the "Mapping" screen. To view the help on those screens, press F1 or click the question mark button.
- The menu screen has been removed from the CD-ROM distribution. When the user inserts the CD the RELMA installation will automatically start.
- The part index for the English language will be installed with the application. It will no longer be generated on demand unless certain criteria are met.
- Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) 2.8 is no longer installed with the application.
- The minimum supported operating system for the RELMA program has been increased from Windows 2000 to Windows XP SP3. Users running Windows XP SP2 or older will be notified when they start the RELMA installation.
- The .NET Framework that is installed with the application has been increased from version 2.0 to version 4.0. Users running Windows 7 that do not have .NET Framework 4.0 installed will be prompted to restart their computer upon completion of the RELMA installation.
- Tooltips are now displayed for deprecated, discouraged, and trial LOINCs.
- LOINC search results can now be sorted by Component/Property/System (the default sort order), or they can be sorted by relevance ranking. This is controlled by a setting on the User Preferences dialog.
- Increased throughput of HL7 import process via filtering and other performance enhancements. The manual reflects this new filters and options.
- The CD-ROM distribution will no longer contain the HL7 Lint program. The program will still be available for download from the LOINC website.