The purpose of the LOINC database is to facilitate the exchange and pooling of results, such as blood hemoglobin, serum potassium, or vital signs, for clinical care, outcomes management, and research. Currently, most laboratories and other diagnostic services use HL7 to send their results electronically from their reporting systems to their care systems. However, most laboratories and other diagnostic care services identify tests in these messages by means of their internal and idiosyncratic code values. Thus, the care system cannot fully "understand" and properly file the results they receive unless they either adopt the producer's laboratory codes (which is impossible if they receive results from multiple sources), or invest in the work to map each result producer's code system to their internal code system. LOINC codes are universal identifiers for laboratory and other clinical observations that solve this problem.
The laboratory portion of the LOINC database contains the usual categories of chemistry, hematology, serology, microbiology (including parasitology and virology), and toxicology; as well as categories for drugs and the cell counts you would find reported on a complete blood count or a cerebrospinal fluid cell count. Antibiotic susceptibilities are a separate category. The clinical portion of the LOINC database includes entries for vital signs, hemodynamics, intake/output, EKG, obstetric ultrasound, cardiac echo, urologic imaging, gastroendoscopic procedures, pulmonary ventilator management, selected survey instruments, and other clinical observations.
DIMDI actively supports the introduction of LOINC and assumes the function of a central database organisation and information communicator with the responsible national and international institutes, project groups and the industry. In order to avoid double work and incompatibility problems with existing standards and to ensure safe public access, national results, information, and activities in connection with LOINC coalesce at DIMDI.
The Regenstrief Institute maintains the LOINC database and its supporting documentation. This side only contains an extract of the informations around LOINC. Please visit the web page of Regenstrief Institute to get additional informations.
The Regenstrief Institute provides a Windows-based mapping utility called the Regenstrief LOINC Mapping Assistant (RELMA®) to facilitate searches through the LOINC database and to assist efforts to map local codes to LOINC codes. Like the LOINC database, this program is also available at Downloads classifications for free use.