July 31, 2016 marked the latest release of LOINC and pCLOCD and it was a big one. LOINC is a universal code system for laboratory tests and clinical observations, and pCLOCD is its Canadian version as it comprises constraints and added records specific to our Canadian health care system context. This year, there were over 11,000 changes made to both the English and French versions of pCLOCD. Currently, teams from across the country are diligently reviewing these updates to determine how the changes will impact mapping decisions in their respective health information systems.
Canadian participants made significant contributions to this year’s release. Approximately 11% of the new codes added to the international LOINC standard were directly attributed to input from our Canadian representatives.
A large number of the changes this year involved updating the attributes associated with each code. Each code has 6 attributes that define its purpose and usage. For instance, the component attribute defines what is measured, while the system attribute defines the context or specimen type within which the observation was made. LOINC and pCLOCD stakeholders have been aware for some time of a large number of issues concerning the attributes for various codes – this year’s releases addressed those issues.