SNOMED, ​​LOINC® agreement will improve interoperability of global health data

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FAR® de Regenstrief and SNOMED International have signed a new collaborative agreement facilitating the adoption of standardized terminology to support expanded health data exchange interoperability worldwide in an effort to improve and enhance the delivery health care.

The agreement also paves the way for coordinated use of SNOMED CT and LOINC by SNOMED International and Regenstrief, each retaining editorial control of their respective standard.

In addition to promoting the adoption of practices that facilitate the use and interoperability of terminology standards produced by the two organizations, the new agreement aims to reduce current and potential duplication. Serving an increasingly cross-functional group of global implementers, the agreement will deliver improved healthcare through standardized terminology and enhanced interoperability of clinical systems while providing support to vendors and users who implement different combinations of the two standards.

The new agreement lays the foundation for the development of a LOINC extension that aligns with the SNOMED CT model, allowing SNOMED International and Regenstrief to jointly distribute LOINC and SNOMED CT content to their respective users. The extension will create both SNOMED CT and LOINC codes for all concepts shared between terminologies, allowing implementers to have a unified approach to implementing both standards and addressing global clinical and regulatory requirements.

The 2022 agreement extends a relationship, inaugurated in 2013, which linked the rich clinical semantics of SNOMED with the LOINC concepts enabling the identification, exchange and collection of data across health systems. The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted and accentuated the importance of coordinated standards to support interoperability.

Looking to the future, annual planning meetings and dedicated Agreement Liaisons will keep lines of communication open between the SNOMED CT and LOINC teams, providing opportunities to discuss joint work products and explore new new collaborations.

Owned and governed by 43 global members, SNOMED International is a not-for-profit organization charged with setting global standards for healthcare terminology, an essential component of safe and effective healthcare. SNOMED CT is a comprehensive, multilingual health terminology created for use by healthcare professionals to capture the care of individuals in an electronic health record and to facilitate sharing, decision support and analysis, to support safe and effective exchange of health information.

LOINC, short for Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes, is a global standard, used in 193 countries and available in 20 languages, for identifying health measures, observations and documents enabling the identification, exchange and collection of data in health systems. Created and maintained at the Regenstrief Institute, the system is free for users.

“Opportunities to support robust interoperable health information exchange, nationally and globally, are critical to delivering the highest quality healthcare,” said Marjorie Rallins, DPM, MS, Executive Director of LOINC Health Data Standards. “The strategic and diplomatic value of the collaboration between Regenstrief and SNOMED should not be underestimated.”

SNOMED International CEO Don Sweete describes the collaboration with LOINC as a major breakthrough. “Globally, our implementers operate within a thriving ecosystem of terminology and messaging standards, creating a certain element of interdependence.” Sweete goes on to say, “In an effort to alleviate the challenges for implementers of multiple standards, the agreement with LOINC is one that will go a long way in reducing redundant efforts, easing the path to sharing and interoperating data.

As the agreement is operationalized, both organizations have shared developments and next steps with their communities. More recently, ambassadors from each organization communicated in more detail the nature of the collaborative agreement at the LOINC conference, October 24-27 at the Les Pensières Center for Global Health in Annecy, France, and at the SNOMED CT exhibition held in September 2022.

For more information on this collaboration, please visit https://www.snomed.org/ and https://loinc.org/

About SNOMED International
SNOMED International is a non-profit organization that owns and develops SNOMED CT, the world’s most comprehensive medical terminology product. We play a vital role in improving the health of humanity by determining standards for codified language that represents groups of clinical terms. This enables the exchange of healthcare information globally for the benefit of patients and other stakeholders. We are committed to rigorously evolving our products and services to deliver continuous innovation to the global healthcare community. SNOMED International is the trade name of the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organization. https://www.snomed.org/

About LOINC®
FAR® was established in 1994 at the Regenstrief Institute with the goal of facilitating interoperability in healthcare. Today, the LOINC coding system contains nearly 100,000 terms for everything from serum alpha 1 antitrypsin levels to zygomatic arch x-ray report. For each concept, LOINC includes many other rich details, such as synonyms, units of measurement and carefully crafted descriptions.

About the Regenstrief Institute
Founded in 1969 in Indianapolis, the Regenstrief Institute is a local, national and global leader dedicated to a world where better information enables people to end disease and achieve true health. A key research partner of Indiana University, Regenstrief and its researchers are responsible for a growing number of major healthcare innovations and studies. Examples range from developing global health information technology standards that enable the use and interoperability of electronic health records, to improving patient-physician communications, to creating models of care that inform practice and improve the lives of patients around the world.

Sam Regenstrief, a nationally successful entrepreneur from Connersville, Indiana, founded the institute with the goal of making healthcare more efficient and accessible to everyone. His vision continues to guide the institute’s research mission.

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