Electronic Laboratory Reporting Technical Assistance (ELR TA) Program Lessons from the Pros

Tuesday, June 24, 2014: 5:45 PM
Ryman I, Renaissance Hotel
Patina Zarcone , Association of Public Health Laboratories, Silversprings, MD
Wesley Kennemore , Association of Public Health Laboratories, Silver Springs, MD
Srinath Remala , Greater Good Group LLC, Atlanta, GA

BACKGROUND:   The Electronic Laboratory Reporting Technical Assistance (ELR TA) program is a collaborative approach developed by APHL and CDC to help public health agencies (PHAs) and their messaging partners modernize health data exchange, with a focus on adoption and advancement of Electronic Laboratory Reporting. ELR leverages technological advances and interoperability standards to automate transmittal of reportable lab results to PHAs. ELR is one of the public health objective in meaningful use (MU) requirements. ELR TA program offers targeted implementation assistance to advance ELR adoption.


The ELR TA program makes ELR technical assistance available to several jurisdictions at state and city level and their ELR data providers.

The ELR TA team, comprising of terminologists, technical architects and project coordinators, comes in with a proven implementation approach and re-usable tool kit leading to quicker deployments.

ELR TA provides targeted assistance based on a specific need/request, from a jurisdiction, in the context of ELR. The team’s consultative approach combined with the vast knowledge gained from multiple diverse implementations offers a significant advantage in adopting broader concepts and best practices in the unique jurisdictional context. The targeted assistance ranges from vocabulary/terminology mappings of local codes to standard codes, HL7 messaging and MU compliance, HL7 message compilation, filtering of reportable conditions, data extraction from source LIMS, data preparation for receiving disease surveillance systems and data transport/transmittal options.

RESULTS:   APHL’s ELR TA team worked with more than 20 jurisdictions with several submitting multiple requests affirming the value of TA, they received. The organizations that utilized these services range from state and county level PHLs, state and city level PHAs, HIEs and Commercial labs. In addition to helping PHAs implement ELR, the ELR TA team also helped PHA staff evaluate existing ELR capabilities and develop roadmaps for addressing the identified gaps.

CONCLUSIONS:   Significant progress has been made over the past few years in advancing ELR and the momentum is picking up further with Reportable Lab Results (ELR) being part of Stage 2 Meaningful Use (MU) core set requirements.  The need for collaboration and sharing in terms of knowledge, tools, processes in this domain is needed and CSTE conference is a great portal and platform for this. Through this presentation, ELR TA team will share resources in their tool kit and their application at jurisdictions. Topics will include program rollout, process development, HL7 messaging and vocabulary, technological architecture/design from a tactical and strategic perspective and lessons learned.