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Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > Your Dept of Health > Offices and Bureaus > Epidemiology > PA-NEDSS > PA-NEDSS - Electronic Laboratory Reporting

PA-Electronic Laboratory Reporting (PA-ELR)

The Pennsylvania Department of Health’s (PADOH) PA-ELR service has been actively receiving electronic laboratory reports since 2005 and fully supports Meaningful Use Objectives for Electronic Laboratory Reporting for Public Health.  If your organization is interested in submitting electronic public health laboratory reports to the PADOH, please complete the Online Registration form.  This is the first step your organization must perform to begin the process of reporting through PA-ELR. For Meaningful Use Objectives, the email you will receive upon completion of the registration form will serve as your organization’s Declaration of Intent.  If you have any questions you can contact us through email at ra-dhnedss@pa.gov or you can speak with our help desk representatives at 717-783-9171.

Participating as a Trading Partner in PA-ELR

If your organization is interested in participating in submitting electronic public health messages to the PADOH via PA-ELR, please complete the on-line PA-ELR registration form by clicking the following link: Online Registration Form.


ELR Message Uploads: PA-NEDSS Reportable Conditions

Manual Method: The designated user will log on to the PA-NEDSS web application. After selecting the Administration Tab, the user will click on the ELR Lab File Upload link to browse their local computer or network. After navigating to the user’s correct, well-formed HL7 file, the user will select it and submit it to ELR. The file will be sent to the PA-ELR application for processing.  If you currently do not have access to PA-NEDSS please contact the help desk at ra-dhnedss@pa.gov to obtain an account.

Automated Method: The automated process will allow your organization to utilize the PA-ELR web service for disease reporting compliance via a PADOH provided client-side application. Local technical staff must configure the local lab or health record system to create compliant HL7 messages and drop them into the client-side application for submission via the PA-ELR web service.


Security

Both laboratory upload methods (manual or automated) incorporate the requirements from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to ensure security and privacy of a patient's Protected Health Information (PHI). All disease data will be transmitted to the PADOH via the internet over a secure socket layer (SSL) connection.


How to Participate using the PA-ELR service?

The DOH has identified the following set of expectations that all laboratory organizations must meet in order submit electronic public health reports to the PADOH:

1) Complete the PA-ELR Online Registration Form
To in PA-ELR, complete the Online Registration form.  This is the first step for an organization to begin the process of reporting through PA-ELR. For Meaningful Use Objectives, the email received upon completion of the registration form will serve as an organization’s Declaration of Intent.  Once registered, an organization will be placed into the PA-ELR on-boarding queue (this includes registrations for Meaningful Use Objectives).  Registered organizations will be prioritized based on reporting volumes, reportable conditions, lab system readiness (configuration for MU/standard code mappings etc.) with reporting requirements and capabilities and the capacity of PADOH staff to work with the organization.   The PA-ELR team will reach out to the contact person identified on the completed online registration form with a tentative timeline when they are ready to begin working with the organization. 

2) Planning for the Test Phase
The PA-ELR application will accept Health Level 7 (HL7) version 2.3.1 or 2.5.1 (2.5.1 is required for Meaningful Use) formatted unsolicited observation messages (ORU) that conform to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) standards and PADOH standards. It is the registering organization's responsibility to develop compliant HL7 test messages and to submit these to the PA-ELR testing website. Approval by the PA-ELR team and the PADOH Disease Surveillance Program Area Managers (e.g. epidemiologists, program analysts) is required before your organization will be able to submit reports in a production mode. On-going production reporting fulfills your Meaningful Use ELR reporting requirements.  It is strongly encouraged that organizations work closely with their laboratory information system (LIS) vendor(s) to configure and test their local system for compliance with applicable national and state HL7 guidelines and requirements.  Full LOINC, SNOMED and other standard code use is required.

3) Production Reporting Phase
Only approved reportable condition messages may be submitted to PADOH production.  Failure to comply with PADOH guidelines may result in deactivation of electronic reporting for non-compliant organizations.  PADOH will accept partial or full go-live activity based on the local LIS capability.  If a lab can submit messages regarding specific reportable conditions to production, PADOH will accept those reports while continuing to work with the lab to complete testing on other reportable conditions.  In the event that an LIS cannot segregate approved versus in-test phase data, a full go-live will be planned.  On-boarding for message submission varies in length of time based on many factors.  Please consult with the PA-ELR team before beginning any project planning to establish realistic expectations based on the current status of on-boarding efforts by PADOH.  Full, on-going message submission is expected once approval for production reporting has been granted.


Meaningful Use Objectives for Electronic Laboratory Reporting:
Meaningful Use Declaration of Readiness

Providers can meet Stage 2 Meaningful Use Objectives by achieving one of the following four criteria:
1.  Ongoing submission was already achieved for an EHR reporting period in a prior year and continues throughout the current EHR reporting period using either the current standard or the standards included in the 2011 Edition EHR certification criteria adopted by ONC during the prior EHR reporting period when ongoing submission was achieved.
2.  Registration of intent to initiate ongoing submission was made by the deadline with the PHA or other body to whom the information is being submitted (within 60 days of the start of the EHR reporting period) and ongoing submission was achieved.
3.  Registration of intent to initiate ongoing submission was made by the deadline and the EP or hospital is still engaged in testing and validation of ongoing electronic submission.
4.  Registration of intent to initiate ongoing submission was made by the deadline and the EP or hospital is awaiting invitation to begin testing and validation.

Providers can fail to meet Meaningful Use Objectives by:
1.  Failing to register their intent by the (reporting period) deadline; or
2.  Fails to participate in the onboarding process as demonstrated by their failure to respond to the PHA written requests for action within 30 days on two separate occasions.

An organizations which has registered and declared its intention to submit Electronic Laboratory Reports to the PADOH will be contacted by the PADOH on two occasions to begin onboarding.  The organization will have 30 days to engage the PADOH once the organization has been notified that the PADOH is ready to proceed with onboarding.  An organization which fails to engage the PADOH within 30 days of the initial notification to proceed will be placed back into the onboarding queue.

PA-ELR Documentation:

The PA-ELR HL7 2.3.1 Guidelines (PDF format) contains specific PA-ELR message requirements. This document should be the starting point for constructing a well-formed HL7 message that is acceptable by the PA-ELR application. This document contains examples of well-formed PA-ELR messages based on various tests.

The PA-ELR HL7 2.5.1 Guidelines (PDF format) for Meaningful Use, contains specific PA-ELR message requirements. This document should be the starting point for constructing a well-formed Meaningful Use HL7 message that is acceptable by the PA-ELR application. This document contains examples of well-formed PA-ELR messages based on various tests.
The current list of reportable diseases to the Pennsylvania Department of Health can be found at this link: PA-DOH reportable diseases list

The DOH looks forward to working with you and your organization in this project and appreciates your cooperation.

PA-ELR Team

Any questions or comments?
Please contact us at ra-dhnedss@pa.gov.