HQuantum© in the use of Terminology Normalization in Medical Laboratories

One of the main hurdles in the HIE domain, is the practical, meaningful and accurate introduction of terminology normalization, i.e. the conversion of multiple terms or codes, into a single term or code, where the terms/codes to be converted have a shared functional definition, both with each other and the normalized outcome.

In the medical laboratories context, clinicians order tests using natural language (e.g. “blood count”, “glycaemia”, “cholesterol”). Laboratory’s operators translate this natural language provision to the corresponding codes used in the Laboratory Information System (LIS), e.g., “BC”, “GLI02”, or even “ABC321”.

Medical terms listed in test results can vary greatly from one laboratory to another. This variance can have a variety of causes, from being historical use, or the systems used in each laboratory, to the preference of certain clinicians. This variance can, on occasions, be compounded by the fact that the use of different terminology is embedded within the individual LIS.

The introduction of changes in terminology can have a serious impact, both on accuracy and the daily workflow of the laboratory. Often these changes will involve, at least:

Changes in software databases. Changes in systems interfaces. The time consuming and often expensive retraining of operators. The loss of easy access to historical data, unless an expensive data translation process is performed.

Healthropy’s proprietary technology, HQuantum© enables the LIS internal tests codes to be mapped to standard coding systems like, e.g. LOINC and MeSH. This mapping is performed by the adoption of a Dynamic Process Interoperability Interface. The seamless adoption of this interface guarantees that the LIS will be able to receive standardized requests and provide standardised test results, whilst LIS users to continue working in the way they always have.

The introduction of HQuantum© facilitates the gains to be had by the introduction of terminology normalization, without any of the conventionally assumed costs and difficulties.