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Development of the Logical Observation Identifier Names and Codes (LOINC) vocabulary.
The LOINC (Logical Observation Identifier Names and Codes) vocabulary is a set of more than 10,000 names and codes developed for use as observation identifiers in standardized messages exchanged between clinical computer systems. The goal of the study was to create universal names and codes for clinical observations that could be used by all clinical information systems. The LOINC names are structured to facilitate rapid matching, either automated or manual, between local vocabularies and the universal LOINC codes. If LOINC codes are used in clinical messages, each system participating in data exchange needs to match its local vocabulary to the standard vocabulary only once. This will reduce both the time and cost of implementing standardized interfaces. The history of the development of the LOINC vocabulary and the methodology used in its creation are described.