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.
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.
SimpleReport Web Application (COVID-19 Only)
SimpleReport, created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is a fast, free, and easy way for facilities to report their COVID-19 testing results to DSHS. SimpleReport automatically converts the data into an acceptable data format, which is then reported to DSHS. The software is free, works with any rapid point-of-care test, and maintains HIPAA standards. For more information and to register, please visit SimpleReport.gov. Before being approved to submit via SimpleReport, a lab facility must register with DSHS.
*For facilities currently using the TX Rapid Test app: DSHS will be sunsetting the TX Rapid Test app currently used for reporting of BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen test results. The TX Rapid Test app is scheduled to shut down on May 31, 2023. If your facility plans on continuing to use BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen tests, please make the switch to SimpleReport as soon as possible, and no later than May 31, 2023.
For more information, please review this document.
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 COVID-19 Lab Reporting Registration Form. 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.