NPU Terminology

NPU Met in Linköping in October 2015

On the 6th and 7th of October 2015, the NPU Scientific Committee (C-SC-NPU joint IUPAC/IFCC committee/sub-committee) met at Linköping University, Sweden. NPU representatives in attendance included: Robert Flatman (Chair) – Australia, Ulla Magdal Petersen (Secretary) – Denmark, Urban Forsum – Sweden, Karin Toska – Norway, Gunnar Nordin – Sweden, Helle Møller Johannessen – Denmark, Daniel Karlsson – Sweden

This was the second formal face-to-face meeting of the NPU committee this year, after a successful April meeting in Copenhagen. The committee noted there had also been a Scandinavian users meeting in Trondheim during August 2015. HMP reported on the IUPAC AGM and Division VII meeting in Busan, Korea earlier this year.

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Left to right: Gunnar Nordin, Helle Johannessen, Ulla Magdal,
Karin Toska, Robert Flatman, Daniel Karlsson and Urban Forsum

Reports on Projects in Progress

(1)    VIM WG2 (International Vocabulary of Metrology, Working Group 2) and GUM WG1 (Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement, Working Group 1)
GN reported on behalf of René Dybkaer. Nominal properties planned for inclusion in VIM4 in next 1-2 years. BIPM (International Bureau of Weights and Measures) has asked that the general readability of VIM be improved – an annotated version is a possibility

(2)    Proposed NPU Recommendation Paper “Vocabulary for nominal properties and nominal examinations”
“Pure and Applied Chemistry” (PAC, IUPAC journal) have raised major issues requiring review, which may result in publication as a Technical Report rather than full Recommendation. Some of the concepts should be used in VIM4.

(3)    Silver Book Revision
Silver Book II is submitted for final publication, however will not be free. Concerns re general readability and accessibility expressed by IFCC Executive. Committee has proposed writing a paper on the utility and function of the SB.

(4)    Definition Project for Non-Referenced Terms
No new progress. 1200 terms requiring better referencing.

(5)    Molecular Diagnostics Revision Project
Work on going to extend molecular pathology definitions for the NPU terminology.

(6)    Piloting NPU-SNOMED-CT Mapping
Previous work on assessing feasibility of mapping the NPU and SNOMMED-CT terminologies now closed or rolled into this new project, but confirmed the feasibility of the proposal. Rule based mapping preferable for high quality as well as speed of mapping. Discussion was held on how to choose a representative data set for mapping rules with KT, GN, UMP and HMJ offering to select representative shorts lists of 100 terms from popular local terms.

NPU Steering Committee Update
NPU-terminology website being launched, with discussions on how to keep content relevant and up to date. It is preferable that meeting minutes be available for both IFCC and IUPAC – listing on the Steering Committee website may be a better solution. The Steering Committee continues to meet regularly, primarily by teleconference.

Reports from Members:
Norway (KT):
 Some misunderstandings on the NPU-terminology in recent pharmacology-related publications noted.   Was suggested a short text in the relevant journal by KT may clarify issues and options. Issues relating to NPU coding for drugs of abuse testing were discussed.

Denmark (HMJ, UMP): An increase in maintenance workload was noted. Cooperation between some of the Danish Regions (sharing IT systems and harmonizing data) is causing large amounts of NPU coding requests. The Danish Release Centre is recruiting an additional employee for NPU work, and there is funding for some temporary student work. From 2016 the Danish eHealth Authority will be reorganized into the Danish Health Data Authority.

Sweden (GN): EQUALIS recognised as the candidate Swedish Release Centre with funding for 2 full time workers. Application to the NPU Steering Committee for formal NRC status in progress. The Swedish patient data platform (NPO) relies on NPU coding. A system similar to the AACC Lab Tests Online is being established in Sweden. UF is working on a project for Information Models for the requesting and reporting testing for the Swedish health portal.

Terminology Issues Reviewed
The committee review a number of issues that were presented for specialist review, including:
(1)    Suggested new concepts for molecular genetics. The use of “DNA fragment” as a system name is debated. Final recommendation that this should be discouraged, with the preferred system being “DNA (P)”
(2)    Allergen references – UMP and HMP demonstrated and recommended the IUIS nomenclature as a useful new reference terminology - accepted
(3)    Synthetic recombinant antigens for the measurement of auto-antibodies were debated – recommendation that each of these should not be part of the NPU definitions as they relate solely to measurement technique
(4)    Large genetic testing panels (e.g. DNA chip arrays) are challenging to code. NPU is best suited to describing individual measurements and at this point will not attempt to describe whole arrays
(5)    Calculated properties (e.g. eGFR) often exist in many different forms based on different calculation models. Recommendation - it is not feasible to cover all of these. On very simple calculations such as BMI can be comprehensively covered.

New Initiatives
Other opportunities to develop and promote the NPU terminology were discussed, including:

Options to attract new members – promotion at local society meetings and possible invitation of senior users. Not all Scandinavian IFCC member societies have appointed corresponding members – contact to be made.   An annual User’s group meeting or workshop meeting was suggested, with NRCs supporting participation in projects.

Promotion: Draft Wikipedia “Sandbox” entry ready for submission for live system. An AACC symposium or participating in a joint symposium may be possible. Needs to be a continuing function under the NPU committee and steering committee. Creation of a new dynamic user manual on the NPU terminology proposed, possibly based on existing Danish manual.

Standards Recognition: Suggested by IUPAC, but not clear how to apply for any sort of European standards recognition – in progress.

Additions to the Terminology: Further work and updates in Microbiology and Immunology recommended

Future Meetings
The meeting closed Wednesday 7th October 2015 at 16:00.
The next full meeting of the NPU committee is proposed to occur during the IFCC Annual General Meeting in Madrid, Spain, March 2016.
There was discussion of a possible small workshop meeting in November again in Linköping, Sweden. DK to propose possible dates.