Indiana company helping track coronavirus


INDIANAPOLIS (Network Indiana): No one has been diagnosed with coronavirus in Indiana, but a Hoosier company is helping keep track of the disease.

Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis has developed a tracking system that uses codes to track the illness and makes sure that it actually is the virus in question. Coding will make it easier to track cases of the virus in the U.S. and across the globe, said Dr. Theresa Cullen, associate director of the Global Health Informatics program at Regenstrief:

“With novel viruses that appear to be easily transmittable, such as the coronavirus, it is vitally important that all identified cases be reported quickly for public health tracking,” said Cullen, talking to Inside Indiana Business. “These codes will facilitate the identification of cases, not just from system to system, but from health department to health department and even country to country.”

The codes help make sure that when someone is diagnosed with the virus in China, doctors are using tests that look for the same things. The system is called Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC).

“We create codes for everything, regardless of whether it’s new (virus) or not. If you go to the doctor and you have a cholesterol level done, then the results are associated with a particular code,” said Dr. Swapna Abhyankar is associate director of content development for LOINC. “So that the next doctor you go see in a different hospital system or different state or different country will know exactly what that result means,”

Researchers hope better tracking of the virus could lead to research to defeat it.


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