LOINC® and SNOMED CT®, both of which are used in laboratories to identify test methodologies and clinical processes, are collaborating to adopt a standardized terminology. Having the two standardized languages in sync will allow for greater global interoperability and easier health data exchange that can enhance and improve the delivery of healthcare.
Let’s Talk LOINC
Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) are the international standard for identifying health measurements, observations, and documents. Created by the Indianapolis-based Regenstrief Institute, LOINC has been around since 1994, working to facilitate healthcare interoperability and growing its code base. The LOINC coding system includes nearly 100,000 medical terms to enable transmission into an EHR and is the preferred standard of HL7 International for identifying laboratory tests. LOINC is used worldwide in 193 countries and available in 20 languages to assist in the exchange and collection of data across health systems.
Let’s Talk SNOMED
Systemized Nomenclature of Medicine – Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT®) is also a multilingual standardized terminology that facilitates capture of healthcare data to facilitate interoperability, decision support, and analytics. SNOMED International determines standards for a codified language that represents groups of clinical terms. SNOMED CT is a clinical terminology that provides clinical content for medical documentation with greater granularity than LOINC, and must be used when describing more complicated, process-driven tests, such as anatomic pathology and microbiology.
LOINC-SNOMED Collaboration Termed “Major Breakthrough”
The two standardized language companies entered an agreement at the end of 2022 to help reduce duplication of terminologies, enable standardized terminology, and improve clinical interoperability. The collaboration begins the process of developing LOINC extensions that align with the SNOMED CT model. The extension will create both SNOMED CT and LOINC codes for concepts that are shared between the two terminologies. By aligning codes, it is easier to implement both standards and to meet clinical and regulatory requirements.
“Opportunities to support robust interoperable health information exchange, nationally and globally, are vital to providing the best quality healthcare. The strategic and diplomatic value in Regenstrief and SNOMED working together should not be underestimated.”
- Marjorie Rallins, DPM, M.S., Executive Director of LOINC Health Data Standards
Image from: Drae, LOINC ® and SNOMED CT ® – Why they’re Better Together. Accessed at: https://www.draegan.com/codes-2/