Loinc codes are a standard of test codes for biological samples. They standardise the test descriptions between different laboratories or databases of clinical data. There is increasing use of Loinc test codes in POC (Point of Care) analysers. Loinc codes are often sent by analysers in addition to the normal test codes. The laboratory or clinic and analyser may use a test name and may use a Loinc Code as well, which will make it easier to compare and exchange data between different labs and different sites

 LOINC is an abbreviation for Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes. LOINC describes itself as 'Reference labs, healthcare organizations, U.S. federal agencies, insurance companies, software vendors, in vitro diagnostic testing companies, and more than 70,900 registered users from 173 countries use LOINC to move data seamlessly between systems'. LOINC codes can be downloaded free of charge from : http://loinc.org/. They are available in CSV and MDB (Microsoft Access Database format)

A test result with the name "Glucose" does not tell us about the sample type or method of analysis for that test. Is the sample from blood Serum or urine? The Loinc codes are supplied as a separate database, and can form part of the testcode data saved.

The LabComm system can provide you with the test code mapping so that Loinc codes are saved as data is received from analysers. A more comprehensive use of Loinc codes is made in the LabDriver system. 

Many POC analysers send the LOINC code as well as the test code. The Horiba ES60 Haematology analyser does send both sets of codes and these are separated by the ~ character. ^PLT~777-3 is two codes ^PLT - the normal test code and 777-3 the Loinc test

 The codes below are from a Haematology analyser. The first code (eg HCT) is a conventional code and the second code (eg 4544-3) is the Loinc code

Parameter

^HCT~4544-3
^HGB~717-9
^MCH~785-6
^MCHC~786-4
^PLT~777-3
^RBC~789-9
^LYM#~731-0

 

We can of course setup a Loinc code translation table, irrespective of whether the analyser sends Loinc codes or not, in the same way that we setup an analyser test code translation

 

ParameterTest NameShort Test NameLOINC Code
^HCT Haematocrit HCT 4544-3
^HGB Haemoglobin HGB 717-9
^MCH MCH MCH 785-6
^MCHC MCHC MCHC 786-4
 ^PLT Platelets PLATE 777-3
^RBC Red Cell Count RBC 789-9
^LYM# Lymphocytes LYM# 731-0

 

This allows us to store the results with the Test Name the Short Test Name and the Loinc codes translated from the Parameter value the analyser sends.