Wednesday, December 7, 2011

HL7 & Regenstrief Working Together

HL 7 the global authority on standards for interoperability for health IT with members in 55 countries and the Regenstrief Institute a healthcare and informatics research organization are working together to develop and extend standards in the industry.

LOINC is a universal code system developed by Regenstrief to identify laboratory and clinical observations. When used in conjunction with the data exchange standards developed by HL7, LOINC’s universal observation identifiers make it possible to combine test results, measurements, and other observations from many independent sources. Together, they facilitate exchange and pooling of health data for clinical care, research, outcomes management, and for other purposes.

LOINC began in the mid 1990’s when Regenstrief investigators, using their decades of experience with EMRs began the Indiana Network for Patient Care (INPC), the nation’s first citywide HIE. The researcher clinicians found that they could receive data from various INPC member institutions but that the clinical content was difficult to interpret because each used a different code for the same test or observation so it was like receiving messages in French, Spanish, and Italian when all they could understand was English.

LOINC was born from the desire to develop a working language. From the beginning, it has been a free and open system encouraging additions, comments, and feedback. Two new versions of LOINC are issued annually with more than 2,000 new terms for tests or clinical observations per release. These new additions are based on requests from end users.

“Rengenstrief has been a long-standing contributor to the standards developed by HL7 and LOINC has been enhanced by its adoption in HL7’s standards,” said Daniel Vreeman, Associate Director of Terminology Services at the Institute. “With this agreement, we look forward to an even closer collaboration with HL7 to improve the semantic interoperability of health data exchange worldwide.”