PITUS wg2 contacted Microbiology, Serology, Virology and Molecular Biology experts representing every Australian public and private laboratory to ascertain the scope of sample types, methodologies and reporting units being used for COVID-19 testing after fielding various queries regarding the most appropriate requesting and reporting terminology for SARS-CoV-2. Subsequently, mappings to all existing SNOMED-CT (requesting ) and LOINC (reporting) terminologies was undertaken, with a gap analysis demonstrating the need for further requesting and reporting terms to be developed for Australian laboratories.
To date a number of RCPA endorsed subsets of SNOMED-CT and LOINC terms have been developed, initially specimen specific, but now more generic. To improve the quality of national data collection, adoption of the RCPA endorsed SARS-CoV-2 terms by all Australian public and private laboratory providers is highly recommended. The standardisation of requesting terms improves the ability for clinicians to identify the correct orderable from multiple provider order catalogues as consultations occur across different organisations and clinical settings. The standardisation and encoding of COVID-19 data not only improves overall data quality, but also allows for greater insights to be derived at a national level for the retrospective analysis of the pandemic, such as geographic distribution of results, hospital acquired infections, quality, or cost of various testing methods, etc.