This is the final part of the series on LOINC®. Please refer to the LOINC category on the right for all posts related to this topic.
Part IV – Populating Your LIS with LOINC
Now that you know all about LOINC ®, the million dollar question becomes: “How do I get this information in my LIS?” It would be great if your LIS vendor could do this for you, but they can’t. It’s not that the vendors don’t want to help. The reality is that there are far too many variables in each of your test menu dictionaries.
Consider a simple glucose test. A glucose is a glucose is a glucose, right? Not quite. Is it fasting, is it timed, is it following an oral challenge, and if so, how many hours? While the glucose test is the same on the analyzer, how many variations of glucose do you use at your facility? Is it serum, urine, CSF, or another fluid? Which method is used on your analyzer? Do you use reagents manufactured by the instrument vendor, or are you using another vendor’s reagents? The method may vary between the instrument vendor’s and the third party’s reagents. I think you get the picture. Multiply that by the number of clients for each LIS vendor, and it becomes an impossible task to simply import the codes. A search of the LOINC database for glucose brings up 851 different codes. How would your LIS vendor possibly know which one to map to yours? The appropriate code depends on the combination of the instrument and reagent vendors.
Don’t despair, though. There are ways to minimize the scope of entering the codes in your LIS. Your instrument vendor knows the methodology better than anyone, so call them and/or reagent vendor(s) and ask them what LOINC is appropriate for the method used on your analyzer, as the method on one analyzer in a series may differ from the next generation of that analyzer from the same manufacturer. Remember, too, that your LIS vendor is not a client of your instrument manufacturer, so they will not have access to the instrument or reagent vendor technical support groups, but you may access these groups through your instrument and reagent vendors for further assistance. Fortunately, some vendors are beginning to include the LOINC codes in their package inserts to make things easier.
Once the codes are populated into the correct field of the LIS, it will include them in interface transmissions to the EMR, and you’ll be ready to go!
We hope you have found this series helpful. As always, we welcome suggestions or tips that you would like to share.
Ginger Wooster, MBA, MT (ASCP)
Director of Regulatory Affairs & Applications Specialist
Orchard Software Corporation
Comments (0) Apr 14 2011