LOINC Celebrates 25 Years of Helping to Aid Diagnostic Decision Making

By Linda Monico

On February 16, Canada joins the Regenstrief Institute in celebrating 25 years of LOINC®. It’s an unprecedented success in pursuing laboratory and clinical data exchange, and though you may not know it, you’re benefiting from LOINC.

LOINC enabled lab data in a repository can be shared with the entire health care team.

If you’ve never heard of LOINC, that’s not uncommon. LOINC stands for Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes, and was created and developed by Regenstrief Institute. LOINC is the largest reference terminology used for laboratory and clinical observations around the world. It’s a public code system that, over the years, has become a universal standard for exchanging laboratory and clinical data between computer systems.

The Canadian version of the LOINC standard is known as pCLOCD, or Pan-Canadian LOINC Observation Code Database.

You may not know it yet, but you are a beneficiary of this health data standard. Every time you undergo a lab or clinical test, the result is electronically shared with a local laboratory information system. Thanks to LOINC, your lab and clinical information can be communicated, exchanged and used by other health information systems in a precise way. This enables many of your health care providers to access your lab results, even if they were not the ordering provider. Ultimately, it helps them make diagnostic decisions and improves health care outcomes. It also serves as a powerful resource for clinical research and analytics, which improves everyone’s outcomes!   

Regenstrief’s long term vision is for LOINC to be integrated into every clinical information system that shares or aggregates data. 25 years from the start of LOINC, they have grown their global community of users and developers, which has led to their worldwide adoption steadily accelerating.  LOINC has been implemented in 11 of 13 jurisdictions in Canada, and in 2018 there were more than 71,000 registered users from 174 different countries! 

On February 16, 2019, the day established as the inaugural celebration of LOINC Day, Canadians everywhere will join Regenstrief in celebrating LOINC’s milestone and recognize it as an integral standard for health data around the world. Congratulations LOINC! 

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About the author
Linda Monico

Linda Monico

Linda Monico leads the authoring and publishing of the bi-annual release of pan-Canadian LOINC Observation Code Database (pCLOCD). She is a Product Specialist on Digital Health Engagement & Marketing team at Infoway, supporting both standards and marketing efforts, in particular for InfoCentral, Infoway’s digital health collaboration platform.