Electronic Laboratory Reporting

Electronic Laboratory Reports (ELR) 

Electronic laboratory reports (ELRs) are a critical component in infectious disease public health surveillance. Detecting and monitoring the occurrence of disease through reporting of test results for notifiable conditions is a cornerstone of public health surveillance in Texas. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Public Health Informatics and Data Exchange (PHID) Unit maintains and operates the Texas National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS). NEDSS interfaces with thousands of providers, laboratories, and other healthcare entities across Texas to process and ingest ELRs for notifiable conditions in a timely manner. This data is accessible to local and regional health staff who conduct important epidemiology and surveillance efforts to prevent and curtail the spread of infectious diseases. The timeliness, accuracy, and completeness of ELRs are extremely important to ensure rapid public health response. The timeliness, accuracy, and completeness of ELRs are extremely important to ensure rapid public health response.

What are the current methods for transmitting ELRs to DSHS? 

HL7 Conformant Messages

The golden standard for reporting ELRs of most notifiable conditions to public health requires submission via Health Level 7 International Standard (HL7) conformant message format. For more detailed information on onboarding and reporting ELRs via HL7 format to DSHS, please visit the Electronic Laboratory Reporting for HL7 Submitters page.

DSHS Approved Comma Separated Value (CSV) Format (COVID-19 Only) 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DSHS created an alternative submission format for reporting SARS-CoV-2 lab results for lab facilities who were unable to produce HL7 conformant messages. DSHS PHID developed a new route for ingesting ELRs utilizing a comma separated value file format. Along with this new route, DSHS PHID developed many training resources and materials to assist lab submitters in the proper reporting of SARS-CoV-2 data. Before being approved to submit via CSV format, a lab facility must register with DSHS. 

Any facility that is conducting COVID-19 testing in Texas or of any Texas residents is required to register with DSHS. Registration information can be found at coronavirus/forms/registerlab. After registering, PHID will work with lab submitters to onboard and approve facilities for CSV submission. Lab submitters who are already registered and onboarded with DSHS can go to PHID/CSV-Submitter-Resources for helpful information on submitting ELRs via CSV.