Electronic Laboratory Reporting
Electronic Laboratory Reporting (ELR) allows facilities (hospitals and laboratories) to report test results for reportable infectious diseases through an automated and secure process. Facilities export data from their information systems in a standard file format and send it to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) electronically through a secure interface.
ELR will replace paper-based reporting for most reportable infectious diseases and has the potential to be used for reporting of other laboratory findings, such as cancer pathology reports and blood lead level results. ELR allows for more rapid reporting to public health and reduces the reporting burden. There are four phases to ELR – enrollment, precertification, certification and maintenance – which are described below.
Note that immediate phone notification of positive test results for Class A diseases is still required for facilities that report test results for reportable infectious diseases through ELR.
Is ELR Right for Your Facility?
If your facility does not perform testing for reportable infectious diseases on site or if your facility has a very low volume of reportable disease laboratory findings, ELR may not be appropriate. Please contact ODH to discuss at ELR@odh.ohio.gov.
How to Get Started
Identify laboratory findings indicative of Ohio reportable infectious diseases for tests performed at your facility. Laboratory and infection control personnel are usually involved in this step.
Create HL7 messages. ODH can accept either HL7 version 2.3.1 or HL7 version 2.5.1 messages. HL7 version 2.5.1 is required for Meaningful Use.
Incorporate appropriate vocabulary and include ODH’s required fields in HL7 messages.
The facility provides ODH with the laboratory findings that will be reported, the expected volume of reports, and the HL7 format of the file to be sent. Frequency of daily batch file transmission will be determined (either Monday through Friday or 7 days a week, with empty files being sent on days when there are no reportable laboratory findings). The facility will work with ODH to set up a method of file transport (sFTP preferred).
The facility will create ELR messages using the standard HL7 format and incorporating ODH data requirements and appropriate vocabulary. The facility will build filters so only reportable laboratory findings are sent to ODH. ODH will test and validate ELR messages to ensure that HL7 and ODH standards are met and that the messages will process automatically through ODH’s Test ELR system. Traditional disease reporting will continue during this phase.
The facility will transmit real data electronically into ODH’s Test ELR system. Traditional disease reporting will continue during this phase. ODH will compare ELR reports with those received via traditional methods to verify accuracy and completeness. After an agreed-upon length of time of error-free ELR reports, a facility will be certified to submit ELR reports into ODH’s Production ELR system in lieu of paper-based reports. A date will be set for discontinuing traditional disease reporting.
During maintenance, the facility will inform ODH of any changes or updates to their HL7 message, including updates to their LOINC and SNOMED lists. If the change is significant, certification may need to be repeated. ODH will notify the facility of any changes to the list of reportable diseases or reporting rules.
Useful links for Validation of HL7 version 2.5.1 messages
Meaningful Use HL7 V2 message validation tool site
CDC Public Healtlh Information (PHIN) Message Quality Framework
Meaningful Use Policy
Contact ODH at ELR@odh.ohio.gov.
Last updated: 1/27/2017