The NPU terminology is a coding system and terminology for identification and communication of examination results from clinical laboratories in the health area. It covers many fields of laboratory medicine:
- Clinical allergology
- Clinical chemistry
- Clinical immunology and blood banking
- Clinical microbiology
- Clinical pharmacology
- Molecular biology and genetics
- Reproduction and fertility
- Thrombosis and haemostasis
The NPU terminology is supported by the IFCC-IUPAC (Sub)committee on Nomenclature for Properties and Units, which is jointly supported by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry (IFCC).
It is in national use in Denmark, for communication and recording of clinical laboratory information.
The basic principles and structures were published by IFCC and IUPAC in 1995. The system has since then been continually widening its technical basis in clinical laboratory sciences, closely aligned with international standardisation work in the area of health informatics. It holds today 16,000 active codes, covering areas of clinical chemistry, clinical immunology and blood banking, clinical microbiology, allergology, thrombosis and hemostasis, molecular biology and genetics, reproduction and fertility, toxicology and clinical pharmacology.
Use in Denmark and Sweden
The Danish version of the NPU terminology has been translated and published for national use by the Danish Health and Medicines Authority since 2001. The terminology and its coding system was accepted right away by the clinical chemistry labs as the main identifier for laboratory result items. Its use is now spreading into other laboratory fields.
The use is not mandatory, and other coding systems are in use. But since 2003 over 95 % of result items transmitted via the Danish health data communication network (MedCom) to to General Practitioners (GPs) have been NPU identified. GPs in Denmark may order laboratory services and access laboratory results via nationwide web applications, with the NPU coding system as the main identifier.
The Swedish version of the terminology is used almost as widely, but is not yet formally recommended for national use.