Many laboratories use electronic message standards to transmit results to their clients. If all laboratories used the same "universal" set of test identifiers, electronic transmission of results would be greatly simplified. The Logical Observation Identifier Names and Codes (LOINC) database aims to be such a code system, covering at least 98% of the average laboratory's tests. The LOINC database should be of interest to hospitals, clinical laboratories, doctors' offices, state health departments, governmental healthcare providers, third-party payors, organizations involved in clinical trials, and quality assurance and utilization reviewers. The fifth release of the LOINC database, containing codes, names, and synonyms for approximately 6300 test observations, is now available on the Internet for public use. Here we describe the LOINC database, the methods used to produce it, and how it may be obtained.
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