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COVID-19 testing and LOINC® v2.68

Like the change of the seasons, new LOINC versions always come around. LOINC 2.68 is out and available. This version has a lot of new content and very important COVID-19 related codes.
SARS-CoV-2 laboratory testing has been in constant evolution and there are many options. Molecular, antibody, antigen and convalescent plasma terms are all available and all have options in specimen and method. If you need help in choosing the correct LOINC there is guidance on the CDC website that includes In Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) device specific test kit mappings by manufacturer. 3M also offers a free consult to help you choose the correct codes for your COVID-19 laboratory assays.
COVID-19 reporting requires more data capture than “regular” LOINC test results. On June 4th, 2020, the Dept of Health and Human Services issued SARS-CoV-2 reporting guidelines, a 6-page document that outlines supplemental information that should be coming alongside values. The additional data helps to standardize the reporting towards building a comprehensive picture of the disease. This will help with future decisions and guidance for the post COVID-19 world. However, the guidelines will require some system/database changes, as the data elements aren’t currently captured.
These include:

  1. First test (Yes/No/Unknown) COVID19 TestTubes400
  2. Employed in healthcare? (Yes/No/Unknown)
  3. Symptomatic as defined by CDC? (Yes/No/Unknown(; if yes, then Date of symptom onset (mm/dd/yy)
  4. Hospitalized? (Yes/No/Unknown)
  5. ICU? (Yes/No/Unknown)
  6. Resident in a congregate care setting (including nursing homes, residential care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, psychiatric treatment facilities, group homes, board and care homes, homeless shelter, foster care or other setting): (Y/N/U)
  7. Pregnant? (Yes/No/Unknown) [While the Lab Information System may have a pregnancy status element, it isn’t currently asked at specimen collection for COVID-19 testing.]

There’s a lot of new information during the pandemic; it would be wise to bookmark and regularly search CDC websites, or contact us and we can help keep you current.