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Clinical laboratory sciences data transmission: the NPU coding system.
In health care services, technology requires that correct information be duly available to professionals, citizens and authorities, worldwide. Thus, clinical laboratory sciences require standardized electronic exchanges for results of laboratory examinations. The NPU (Nomenclature, Properties and Units) coding system provides a terminology for identification of result values (property values). It is structured according to BIPM, ISO, IUPAC and IFCC recommendations. It uses standard terms for established concepts and structured definitions describing: which part of the universe is examined, which component of relevance in that part, which kind-of-property is relevant. Unit and specifications can be added where relevant [System(spec)-Component(spec); kind-of-property(spec) = ? unit]. The English version of this terminology is freely accessible at http://dior.imt.liu.se/cnpu/ and http://www.labterm.dk, directly or through the IFCC and IUPAC websites. It has been nationally used for more than 10 years in Denmark and Sweden and has been translated into 6 other languages. The NPU coding system provides a terminology for dedicated kinds-of-property following the international recommendations. It fits well in the health network and is freely accessible. Clinical laboratory professionals worldwide will find many advantages in using the NPU coding system, notably with regards to an accreditation process.