NEDSS COVID-19 Laboratory Submitter Resources

Texas Case Counts microscopic example of a coronavirus

This page is intended to serve as a resource page for facilities conducting in-house or on-site SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) testing who have already registered to report to NEDSS. Here you will find supplemental information to assist with the registration, testing, and onboarding.

If your facility has not yet registered, please begin the lab reporting registration process.

For information on the new DSHS electronic case reporting (eCR) initiative, please visit the Electronic Case Reporting (eCR) page.

On this page:


Lab Webinar Training (Added 12/15/20)

Updated COVID-19 Lab Reporting Requirements covering New 56 Column Template including Ask on Order Entry (AOE) Questions

DSHS PHID recently held a webinar training update for facilities submitting lab data via CSV formatted template to DSHS. A link to access the video recording of that training is available below along with a copy of the presentation slides.

Training Date Description Link
12/11/20 Webinar Training on Updated 56 Column AOE Template https://www.gotostage.com/channel/7e01723e07524cee9ff4728312463477
Must enter name and email to register prior to viewing.

Related Handouts:

Note for Facilities Assigned to Persivia:
If your facility is currently assigned to Persivia, please continue to name your filename with the same file naming convention you have been using.


What is NEDSS and what is its significance to the COVID-19 response?

The Texas National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS) is the primary system utilized by public health epidemiologists and surveillance staff across Texas to monitor and respond to most notifiable infectious disease conditions. Since 2004, NEDSS has played a critical role in preventing the further transmission of infectious diseases in Texas. It serves as the primary system for processing and distributing electronic laboratory reports (ELRs) which trigger public health investigations of notifiable disease conditions. Public health epidemiologists and surveillance staff routinely conduct disease investigations based on ELRs assigned to their area through NEDSS. The purpose of disease investigations is to identify cases, assess their close contacts, apply mitigation efforts, and reduce further spread of the disease. Public health staff capture results of those investigations in NEDSS and utilize the data to identify and monitor disease trends in their communities. The data captured through investigations also helps to identify vulnerable populations, pockets of need, and changes in disease epidemiology.

NEDSS data is utilized to feed the DSHS dashboards available to the public. This data helps public health leadership to effectively monitor and respond to the ongoing pandemic situation.

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What are the two options for COVID-19 electronic lab reporting to NEDSS?

There are two options for reporting COVID-19 ELRs to NEDSS:

  1. Health Level 7 International (HL7) standardized message format, or
  2. Texas alternative comma separated value (.CSV) standardized message format compliant with rules outlined in DSHS COVID-19 data dictionary.

Facilities reporting via the Texas CSV approved template can utilize resources listed here to assist in the registration, testing, and onboarding process. Submitters should follow all instructions as received from DSHS after registration and may use information presented here as supplementary information.

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COVID-19 Reporting Guidelines for Submission by CSV Template

This guide was designed to assist facilities with the registration, testing/validation, and onboarding process for reporting COVID-19 labs to DSHS. This guide is specifically developed for facilities who submit their results via the DSHS approved comma separated value (CSV) template. Facilities who are unable to submit via HL7 standard should submit via the CSV template.

Download the entire guide:

For quick access to shortened instructions from the guide, please see the links provided below:

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COVID-19 Reporting CSV Template and Data Dictionary (Updated 12/11/20)

The templates listed below are issued to facilities after completing registration. Facilities who have not registered yet may review the templates listed below to understand data submission formatting and data requirements. However, facilities who have not had their registration confirmed by DSHS are NOT authorized to submit these templates until approved to do so.

  • 56_Column_AOE_Clean_Template.CSV
    This is the file format with the column headers for the 56 columns/variables of lab data required to be submitted to DSHS.
    Submitters must adhere to the exact column order. Do not include additional columns and do not omit columns—these scenarios may cause the entire file to be rejected.
  • 56_Column_AOE_Data_Dictionary.XLSX
    This data dictionary provides details on requirements for each of the required 56 columns/variables. It’s important to note the field listing permitted response options and the required formatting for each variable. If a submitted file does not conform to the data dictionary, the file may be rejected.

Registered facilities who need assistance or have other questions may email COVID-19ELR@dshs.texas.gov.

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This page is being updated as new information becomes available.

Last updated September 20, 2021