Lab and clinical terminology groups align

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The Regenstrief Institute and the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO) announced July 24 they have signed a long-term agreement to begin cooperative work linking their global healthcare terminologies: Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) and SNOMED Clinical Terms.

The agreement will help improve safety, functionality and interoperability for the rapidly growing number of clinicians who manage and exchange health data with electronic medical records, leaders from both non-profit groups said in a news release.

The cooperative work will connect the clinical semantics of SNOMED CT to LOINC codes, which provide extensive coverage of laboratory tests and some types of clinical measurements. By aligning how the two terminologies represent the attributes of laboratory tests and some types of clinical measurements, this collaboration will provide users a common framework within which to use LOINC and SNOMED CT.

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Regenstrief and IHTSDO officials said they seek to limit duplication of effort and focus limited resources on enhancements that serve the practical needs of the growing number of users of LOINC and SNOMED CT.

Over the past few years, IHTSDO and Regenstrief have worked together on shorter-term and smaller-scale projects. The newly announced agreement defines a long-term, broadly scoped, working relationship; it will be in effect for at least 10 years. The organizations’ immediate focus is laboratory testing as well as some basic clinical measurements, and they intend to expand into other areas of mutual interest in the future. The signatories said the agreement is only the beginning and launches the practical work needed to realize shared objectives.

"IHTSDO is very pleased with the conclusion of the long-term agreement with the Regenstrief Institute Inc. and thereby with the LOINC Committee," said John van Beek, chair of the IHTSDO Management Board, in a news release. "This agreement consolidates the growing cooperation between our organizations. It will lead to acceleration of cooperative work to improve interoperable use of SNOMED CT with LOINC, which will benefit the quality and effectiveness of healthcare."

"Regenstrief is enthusiastic about this joint work with IHTSDO because we believe it will enhance the ability of clinical systems worldwide to share and understand the health data they receive from many sources," said Daniel Vreeman, associate director of terminology services at the Regenstrief Institute and assistant research professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine. "This joint work will add value to both LOINC and SNOMED CT and will help both organizations accomplish more by reducing duplicate effort. Most importantly, a closer alignment of LOINC and SNOMED CT will make electronic health records more effective at improving healthcare."

[See also: Neglect to test for ICD-10 at your peril]


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