Mapping Thai Local Laboratory Codes with LOINC : the Preliminary Report

Wanchana Pontongmak, Boonchai Kijsanayotin, Win Min Thit, Panu Looareesuwan



Background: Health data standardization is indispensable in Health Information System (HIS) to support the sharing and exchanging of data, especially in semantic interoperability. Recently, Thai healthcare system has adopted an international laboratory coding system, namely, the Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC), as the national laboratory coding standard.  LOINC, a universal coding standard for laboratory information, covers most of the laboratory terms and is broadly used in many countries.

Objective: This study aims to study the extent of the coverage of LOINC terms and codes in local laboratory codes.

Materials and Methods: Two local laboratory code lists were studied, 1) The Comptroller General Department of Ministry of Finance’s code list and 2) Burirum province hospitals Laboratory Information System’s code list.  The data were mapped to LOINC codes manually using Regenstrief LOINC Mapping Assistant (RELMA) programme.

Results: More than 80% of local laboratory codes were mapped to LOINC codes, of which 23.26% of local laboratory codes were mapped to only one LOINC code and 59.40% were mapped to more than one LOINC code.

Conclusions and discussions: The LOINC codes are comprehensive; it covered almost all the Thai healthcare service laboratory terms. The high percentage of mapping result indicates that LOINC is applicable to Thai healthcare services. Since local laboratory codes represented less information about laboratory test than LOINC, the mapping results show high proportion of one to many mapping from local codes to LOINC codes. The unmapped codes resulted from the terms using local language and the limited domain knowledge by mappers.

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