Clinical LOINC Term Structure
THIS GRAPH ILLUSTRATES how the six different axes used for delineating a LOINC term are used to model document names,
survey questions, and utilization counts. Code 57206-5 represents overall patient status in the OASIS-C assessment instrument
used in home healthcare reporting.
Code : Component : Property : Timing : Sample : Scale : Method
57206-5 LOINC Code; sequential number plus check digit
Source: Regenstrief Institute. “Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) Users’ Guide.” Updated December 2010. www.regenstrief.org/
the result. For the purpose of a clinical observation, the system
axis could define a physical location, an entire body system, or
a population group.
LOINC Use for Assessments
Over time and with the input from collaborators, LOINC terms
and the master question file have been refined and expanded
with additional attributes for use in assessments.
Each individual term is grouped together wherever a set of
terms is needed to identify a series of questions and answers
for a clinical form or assessment tool. These are known within
LOINC as a survey or panel.
The LOINC format allows patient
assessment data to be easily
gathered and transmitted.
The clinical meaning of an assessment question is coupled
with the allowable answers of the instrument. Assessments
such as the Minimum Data Set (MDS) used in long-term care
and the OASIS data set used for home healthcare typically include a question followed by a list of allowable answers. A computable structure has been created for efficient processing and
reuse of data wherever possible using LOINC.
In 2007 the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT
recommended LOINC be used with federally required patient
assessments, including functional and disability content. The
first assessment tool to be standardized was the MDS. The OA-
SIS form was also converted into LOINC. The LOINC format al-
lows the information to be easily gathered and transmitted to
the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for aggregation
and outcomes analysis.
Benefits of LOINC Use
Converting clinical surveys and other assessment instruments
into LOINC helps facilitate aggregation in a logical manner and
enables the information to be sent to whatever government
agency requires it.
Many care assessments include common questions that may