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J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2013 Mar-Apr;20(2):293-7. doi: 10.1136/amiajnl-2012-001063. Epub 2012 Jul 16.

Mapping local laboratory interface terms to LOINC at a German university hospital using RELMA V.5: a semi-automated approach.

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  • 1Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany. christian.zunner@uk-erlangen.de

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) mapping of laboratory data is often a question of the effort of mapping compared with the benefits of the structure achieved. The new LOINC mapping assistant RELMA (version 2011) has the potential to reduce the effort required for semi-automated mapping. We examined quality, time effort, and sustainability of such mapping.

METHODS:

To verify the mapping quality, two samples of 100 laboratory terms were extracted from the laboratory system of a German university hospital and processed in a semi-automated fashion with RELMA V.5 and LOINC V.2.34 German translation DIMDI to obtain LOINC codes. These codes were reviewed by two experts from each of two laboratories. Then all 2148 terms used in these two laboratories were processed in the same way.

RESULTS:

In the initial samples, 93 terms from one laboratory system and 92 terms from the other were correctly mapped. Of the total 2148 terms, 1660 could be mapped. An average of 500 terms per day or 60 terms per hour could be mapped. Of the laboratory terms used in 2010, 99% could be mapped.

DISCUSSION:

Semi-automated LOINC mapping of non-English laboratory terms has become promising in terms of effort and mapping quality using the new version RELMA V.5. The effort is probably lower than for previous manual mapping. The mapping quality equals that of manual mapping and is far better than that reported with previous automated mapping activities.

CONCLUSION:

RELMA V.5 and LOINC V.2.34 offer the opportunity to start thinking again about LOINC mapping even in non-English languages, since mapping effort is acceptable and mapping results equal those of previous manual mapping reports.

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