Edit ModuleShow Tags
Published:

Should You Be Using LOINC?



Should You Be Using LOINC? | Food and Nutrition Magazine | The Feed Blog

John Snyder, DTR, RDThis featured post is by John Snyder, DTR, RD.

The more I work with terminologies, the more I find that the question is not, "Should we use Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes, or LOINC?" but, "How can we use them effectively?" If your electronic health record is like mine, you may see a test result component with a provider-friendly name like "EOS" or "Protein Intake" and not really know for sure exactly what it means. Armed with a LOINC code, you would know that, for this particular organization, these items are, respectively, "Eosinophils/100 leukocytes in Blood by Automated count" and "Protein intake 1 hour." Both potentially useful pieces of information, especially if the organization you came from measured protein intake in different hour increments.

Using standardized terminologies can reduce overall training time to learn all the little nuances that creep into an organization's local names, or even eliminate them. What else can we do with LOINC?  We can create an entire nutritional assessment. How cool is that!?

A LOINC code can define a question along with the list of answers for that question. For example, LOINC code 61449-5 says, "How often did you drink milk as a beverage in the past 30 days?" The corresponding answer list contains such as, "Never or less than 1 time per month," and "1 time per month." The questions can then be grouped together into panels to create an entire survey of clinical observations.

The benefit: When someone asks you for a copy of the nutrition assessment form used at your organization, you could give them a single LOINC code. Based on that code they would not only know every question and every standardized answer on that assessment, but they also would be able to plug it into a utility that would automatically build the entire survey online.

These are just two examples of the cool things that can be done with one of the primary standardized terminologies being adopted by health care organizations. Happy LOINCing!


John Snyder, DTR, RD, is a senior phenomics data analyst for Geisinger Health Systems, in Danville, Penn. Previously, he was the dietitian for the U.S. National Sprint Cycling team, a computer programmer and software tester, and his writing has appeared in Men's Health and other publications.
 

(Photo: michaeljung/iStock/ThinkStock)

More Articles

DIY Kitchen: Simple Sausage

DIY Kitchen: Simple Sausage

Today’s store-bought sausage comes in an array of flavors and includes fresh, dried and smoked, but often contains high amounts of salt, fillers and preservatives. DIY sausage can be a healthy alternative when using lean meats, fresh herbs and vegetables, and limited salt.
Potato Power: The Ultimate Down-to-Earth Vegetable

Potato Power: The Ultimate Down-to-Earth Vegetable

First cultivated by Peruvian Indians more than 4,000 years ago, today hundreds of varieties of potatoes in many shapes, sizes and colors are grown around the world.
Blender Girl Smoothies (Version 1.4)

Blender Girl Smoothies (Version 1.4)

Born from the eponymous blog, the Blender Girl Smoothies app is designed to guide you to your ideal smoothie blend in the kitchen.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Advertise with Food & Nutrition
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags


The Feed

Covering the intersection of nutrition, information and technology.

About This Blog

Welcome to The Feed, a blog about the dynamic world of nutrition informatics. What is nutrition informatics? It is the intersection of nutrition, information and technology, and it is a major driving force supporting all areas of dietetics practice.

Learn about our guest blogs!

Comments Policy

Food & Nutrition Magazine provides this forum to exchange ideas, opinions and contributions within a positive community. Diverse viewpoints and constructive, respectful dialogue are welcome. Rudeness, misinformation, self-promotion and abuse are not. We reserve the right, without warning or notification, to remove comments and block users we determine violate this policy or our Terms & Conditions. You must include your name or be logged into a personal account on Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or Google+ to comment.

Archives