Coding laboratory values and clinical tests with the new LOINC system -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine


DIMDI - Deutsches Institut für Med. Dokumentation und Information

Coding laboratory values and clinical tests with the new LOINC system

Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) are used for the unique coding of tests, particularly in laboratories, and therefore enable effective data exchange between IT systems in clinics, doctors’ surgeries and laboratories. The new version 2.19 of the LOINC database as well as the LOINC maintenance database RELMA 3.19 and the LOINC User’s Guide are already available on the DIMDI website free of charge.
The internationally acclaimed LOINC system is used for the unique coding and naming of tests, findings, measurements and laboratory values and can be used in integrated care for data exchange between medical IT systems. LOINC terminology is an important telematics component in the German health care system and is already used in the VHitG (German association of providers of IT solutions for the health care industry) physician’s letter.

LOINC examples:
• 29271-4 Eye examination
• 21311-6 Gluten allergy
• 14761 Glucose value 2 hours after a meal

In the present database version 2.19, formal aspects such as the simplified insertion of hierarchies have been implemented, as well as improved content such as creating definitions and improved search algorithms. The LOINC maintenance database makes it possible to convey national requirements and new codes to the manufacturer, the Regenstrief Institute in the USA, in a structured form. The Regenstrief Institute checks these suggestions and implements them in the next version, if necessary. The User’s Guide is adapted each time the LOINC system is revised. DIMDI takes care of the translation and the quality assurance of the handbook.

Originally created by the Regenstrief Institute for laboratory experiments, the LOINC system has been extended over the past twelve years to include clinical tests and experiments involving medical technology. The LOINC database is revised twice a year by the Regenstrief Institute to include international scientific developments in this nomenclature. The current version is now available from the DIMDI website free of charge.

• Helpdesk Classifications, Tel.: +49 221 4724-524, E-Mail:

Further Information at DIMDI
• LOINC User’s Guide (German)
• LOINC database

External Information
• Regenstrief Institute