The New Zealand Pathology Observation Code Sets (NZPOCS) standard comprises code sets for ordering and reporting laboratory tests and results. HISO maintains NZPOCS in partnership with the National Pathology and Laboratory Round Table.
The code sets are based on international standards LOINC and SNOMED CT, and cover all commonly performed pathology tests in biochemistry, haematology, immunology, microbiology, virology/serology and toxicology. NZPOCS will be extended to new test types such as molecular tests and multidrug-resistant organism screening tests.
NZPOCS October release
Download the current release that incorporates the latest LOINC release and new codes for COVID-19 tests:
The April release of the New Zealand Pathology Observation Code Set included consumer friendly terms (see Consumer name).
Regenstrief Institute introduced consumer names that can be used to display patient friendly terms in consumer-facing health and wellness applications that use LOINC to encode the underlying data (for example, patient portals). They are not intended to be used at any point in the clinical workflow, or for the purpose of mapping local terms to LOINC.
View the changes from previous NZPOCS releases in the spreadsheets below:
- New Zealand Pathology Observation Code Set – Changes as at 1 October 2021 (Excel, 48 KB)
- New Zealand Pathology Observation Code Set – Changes as at 1 April 2021 (Excel, 113 KB)
- New Zealand Pathology Observation Code Set – Changes as at 1 October 2020 (Excel, 56 KB)
- New Zealand Pathology Observation Code Set – Changes as at 27 March 2020 (Excel, 43 KB)
- New Zealand Pathology Observation Code Set – Changes as at 1 August 2019 (Excel, 38 KB)
Regular updates to NZPOCS will be published in April and October every year.
HISO expects laboratories and other agencies to have applied the latest release of NZPOCS by 30 June 2022.
To submit changes or new code requests email [email protected].
Coding for COVID-19 lab tests
Regular updates will be included in NZPOCS to incorporate new LOINC and New Zealand specific codes for COVID-19 related tests. New Zealand laboratories are advised to use the new codes when reporting COVID-19 test results.
LOINC codes are continuously being created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The LOINC codes that are developed between release cycles have a status of ‘special use’. The codes are still in development and are subject to change, prior to being included in a scheduled release. The NZPOCS list includes some of these codes.
See the LOINC website for more information on the COVID-19 test codes.
Microorganism code set
NZPOCS now has a microorganism code set that includes all 18,000 concepts in the SNOMED microorganism hierarchy. The code set is published in the SNOMED NZ Edition.
This choice of code set of was agreed in 2018 between HISO, the National Pathology and Laboratory Round Table and the New Zealand Microbiology Network. Laboratory information managers and their industry partners were consulted on the changes at the time.
The code set considerably extends the Royal College of Pathology of Australasia (RCPA) microorganism code set of about 3000 concepts, to provide better cover and avoid difficulties in using and maintaining a restricted set. We will work with our RCPA partners when requesting additions to the microorganism content in SNOMED.
A related decision concerns how resistance mechanisms such as methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), extended spectrum beta lactamase (ESBL) and vancomycin resistant enterococcus (VRE) are recorded. In these cases, the decision is to code the microorganism and the resistance mechanism as separate data elements in the report. Resistance mechanism should be coded as a SNOMED concept under Infection caused by resistant organism (disorder). We will work with RCPA on any additions needed.
HISO's expectation is that SNOMED will be implemented in all systems exchanging laboratory information, for end-to-end interoperability that doesn’t depend on mapping. This applies to laboratory information systems and repositories, infection control systems and clinical information systems.
SNOMED NZ Edition
The SNOMED NZ Edition can be downloaded in standard release file format from the SNOMED Member Licensing and Distribution Service. Laboratory information systems need to be loaded with each new release to stay up-to-date with the microorganism code set.
Other developing content in the SNOMED NZ Edition includes the RCPA laboratory order code set.