Vocabulary standards like LOINC and SNOMED CT demonstrate the "network effect". That is, they become more valuable as more people use them. LOINC is the most widely used laboratory code system, and its benefits continue to grow as adoption spreads. Regenstrief develops LOINC using best practices in terminology development. The development approach keeps the content coverage broad and current in the domains of interest.
As a result, LOINC users find many benefits because it:
- Enables comparability and analysis of consolidated laboratory result data. Many EHR health information exchange projects are using LOINC to pool and compare clinical lab results. Such analyses can be for the same patient across different laboratories or the same test across many patients.
- Facilitates integration of laboratory tests and reporting units across disparate lab systems within the same health delivery system. For example, LOINC facilitates the communication between hospital-based clinical labs and their reference clinical labs.
- Enables more efficient electronic ordering of tests from multiple laboratories.
- Supports all commonly used lab tests and the majority of tests done in specialty areas. In case a LOINC code is missing because it does not exist in the current version, an agile process for submitting new codes ensures that it will be created and published in the next update, always considering that the code is pragmatically useful in the Clinical lab global community.
- Facilitates increased access to laboratory test results across the continuum of care and reduces the need to repeat laboratory tests by providing a universal identifier for lab tests across care sites and systems.
- Improves quality and timeliness of laboratory results and interpretations since tests can be reviewed electronically.
- Accelerates secondary uses of clinical results for other purposes such as public health reporting, quality measurement, and other kinds of analyses.
- Allows global communication, but has support for local implementation with features like language translations.