When we can spare a moment to look up from the immediate benefits, standards such as LOINC have an even brighter future. "There are many secondary uses as well," Vreeman says. Among them:
One other bit of good news Vreeman shared with me: Some independent labs are already able to include LOINC codes with the results they return to providers.
To me, that's a remarkable testimony to the power of standards whose time has come. As far as I'm aware, independent labs are not eligible for Meaningful Use incentive money. They are vilified as money mills who are happy to crank out the next duplicate test result.
To me, it's the power of the market—that's the power of you, the reader—finally, relentlessly convincing the sellers to listen to the buyers, to deliver the actionable data they demand. As we move further toward patient-centered care, and further toward value-driven care, that's where technology should be headed, and apparently, already is.