RSNA, Regenstrief team to unify radiology terminology

The Radiological Society of North America and the Regenstrief Institute have joined forces to develop a single source of codes for radiology procedures.

Currently, RSNA owns and maintains the RadLex medical terminology for radiology--a comprehensive lexicon with more than 30,000 terms. Regenstrief Institute owns and maintains the Logical Observations Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) terminology for medical tests and measurements. Now, under a contract awarded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, these two organizations will work toward unifying and harmonizing the terms for radiology procedures.

Unifying terminology has several advantages. In particular, it improves communication between providers from differing institutions. In addition, the use of common terminology facilitates clinical decision support and other quality initiatives, and is necessary for the transmission of patient  medical data in health information exchanges.

The project will be led by Curtis Langlotz, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania and Daniel Rubin, M.D., of Stanford University, who have chaired the RSNA RadLex committees; and by Daniel Vreeman, DPT, of the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine, who directs the development of LOINC.

"Regenstrief is eager to undertake this collaborative work because a comprehensive and widely adopted vocabulary standard will help make radiology procedure data available to clinicians when and where they need it," Vreeman said in an announcement. "We believe that LOINC and RadLex complement each other and that a unified model will be mutually beneficial."

The 18-month National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering contract runs through March 2015, by which time the RSNA and the Regenstrief Institute plan to  have unified names for computed tomography procedures.

In July, the standards organizations for the healthcare terminologies LOINC and SNOMED signed an agreement to align the two terminologies; the collaboration is expected to last at least 10 years

The International Health Terminology Standards Development Organization maintains SNOMED Clinical Terms (CT), which covers laboratory tests and some types of clinical measurements. The two non-profit organizations have worked together previously on smaller-scale projects.

To learn more:
- see the announcement about RSNA/Regenstrief project

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