Electronic Laboratory Reporting for CSV Submitters

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About Electronic Disease Surveillance at the Department of State Health Services

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 National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS) system, maintained and operated by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Public Health Data and Informatics Exchange (PHID) Unit, provides a method for laboratories and providers to submit electronic laboratory report (ELR) results.

What is Electronic Laboratory Reporting?

ELR is the electronic transmission of results from laboratories that conduct tests for notifiable disease conditions. These reports are required to be reported to public health authorities so that appropriate actions can take place to limit the spread and manage impacts of the organism or disease. ELRs serve as the primary trigger for public health investigations and provide a gauge for local health officials to assess the level of activity for various infections within their community. The timeliness, accuracy, and completeness of ELRs are extremely important to ensure rapid public health response.

Submitting COVID-19 ELR Data in a Comma-Separated Value (CSV) File to Meet Public Health Reporting Requirements

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 CSV file format. 

COVID-19 CSV ELR On-boarding Process

The resources below describe the COVID-19 CSV ELR onboarding process and the DSHS requirements in detail:

Step 1. Registration

Step 2. Setting Up a Secure File Transfer Protocol (sFTP) Connection

  • The Facility will be provided with instructions to create a GlobalScape account. This is needed for secure transfer of files.

Step 3. Testing

  • Facility will develop and generate test file, using our approved CSV template.
  • The test file must contain 2-3 lines of data and be representative of your actual results, with only the patient information being fictitious, but still valid.
  • Any issues identified during the validation of the test file will be discussed with the points of contact of the facility for appropriate action.

Step 4. Production

  • Once an eligible facility has completed a test file without any validation issues, they will receive an e-mail acknowledgement of their success and be placed into production status. They would then be eligible to submit actual results via CSV file.