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HL7 and Regenstrief Institute Sign Statement of Understanding

November 14, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- Health Level Seven® (HL7®) International, the global authority on standards for interoperability of health information technology with members in 55 countries, and the Regenstrief Institute, Inc., an internationally respected healthcare and informatics research organization, today announced an agreement to create a complementary process to develop and extend comprehensive standards in the healthcare industry.

"This agreement further solidifies and extends the wonderful relationship HL7 has enjoyed with Regenstrief for many years," said Bob Dolin, chair of HL7 Board of Directors. "HL7 is committed to working with Regenstrief and other standards bodies to advance the delivery of safe and effective patient care."

Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC®) is a universal code system developed by the Regenstrief Institute for identifying laboratory and clinical observations. When used in conjunction with the data exchange standards developed by HL7, LOINC's universal observation identifiers make it possible to combine test results, measurements, and other observations from many independent sources. Together, they facilitate exchange and pooling of health data for clinical care, research, outcomes management, and other purposes.

"Regenstrief has been a long-standing contributor to the standards developed by HL7, and likewise, LOINC has been enhanced by its adoption in HL7's standards," said Daniel Vreeman, DPT, M.Sc., associate director of terminology services at the Regenstrief Institute. "With this agreement, we look forward to an even closer collaboration with HL7 that improves the semantic interoperability of health data exchange worldwide."

LOINC began in the mid 1990's when Regenstrief investigators, using their decades of experience with electronic medical records, began the Indiana Network for Patient Care, the nation's first citywide health information exchange. The researcher clinicians found they could receive data from various INPC member institutions but that the clinical content was difficult to interpret because each used a different code for the same test or observation so it was like receiving messages in French, Spanish and Italian when all they could understand was English.

LOINC was born from the desire to develop a lingua franca. From the beginning it has been a free and open system, encouraging additions, comments and feedback. Two new versions of LOINC are issued annually, with more than 2,000 new terms for tests or clinical observations per release. These new additions are based on requests from end users.

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