The NLM launched a new Web site, Newborn Screening Coding and Terminology Guide, to better equip public health agencies to observe and compare nationwide trends from newborn screening test results.
The NLM site covers more than 100 conditions, listing their terminologies and codes, and identifying the screening tests that may be used for each. Users may view the information interactively or download electronic datasets of standard names and identifiers.
Newborn screening is often complicated by wide variations among states in the ways tests are conducted and results recorded – and by inefficient, paper-based communications, all of which can delay rapid attention to a child’s health problems.
By helping to establish common terminology and coding standards, the new site takes a key step toward electronic exchange of laboratory test information, comparison of data from different sources, and eventual inclusion of newborn screening information in electronic health records (EHRs).
“For decades, the NLM has been a trailblazer in conducting and supporting research in clinical informatics and electronic medical records,” says NLM Director Donald A.B. Lindberg, MD. “Harmonizing standard coding, terminology and electronic messaging methods in newborn screening will support quality health care for children.”
Clement McDonald, MD, director of NLM’s Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications (LHNCBC), adds, “The Web site can also help researchers untangle today’s confusion of terms and tests, eventually leading to all newborn screening becoming a part of each child’s permanent EHR.”
The new Web site was created in collaboration with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all components of the US Department of Health and Human Services.