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What is LOINC and Why Does it Matter?

Published: November 2012

Hot Topic Q&A is an opportunity for viewers to submit questions to the Hot Topic presenter. The opportunity to submit questions for this topic is now closed.

The following questions were submitted by viewers and answered by the presenter, Jon Rosenblatt, MD, a Professor of Medicine and Microbiology at Mayo Clinic, as well as a consultant in the Division of Clinical Microbiology.

Questions are presented as submitted (unedited).

  1. When will these changes be implemented and are there apps available for other devices?

    The guidelines for using LOINC are part of the Meaningful Use CMS regulations at

    At present, the timeline is "fluid" but it looks like stage 2 will be required (for those seeking CMS incentive payments) sometime during 2014.

    See Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC®) for LOINC code information and a spreadsheet of LOINC codes by test. Currently, there is no app for accessing these codes. Individual test LOINCs are also noted in our test catalog.

  2. Will LOINC be used for order transactions in addition to Mayo local codes?

    Orders are not included at this time.

  3. Slide 13 states that laboratories are required to archive LOINC codes for test results from laboratories to which they have referred specimens. How long is the retention period?

    I don't believe a retention time was stated in the CMS document, but I would assume it is the same as for any report which is received from another lab. Mayo Medical Laboratories/MCR regulatory people should know what that is.