Electronic Laboratory Reporting (ELR) in Louisiana

The Sanitary Code of Louisiana specifies that certain laboratory results for disease conditions deemed reportable must be reported to the Office of Public Health (OPH). There are many avenues for reporting diseases to the State, including mail, fax, phone call to an epidemiologist, using our web-based provider reporting tool (IDRIS), and electronic batch files. There are also a variety of ways this can be done electronically, which is more efficient for all parties.

The OPH can process the following file types:

  • Excel,
  • flat files, and
  • a variety of HL7 standard formats.

Transport mechanisms can include:

  • SFTP files,
  • real time transfer, and
  • PHIN-MS transport.

In some cases, all of a provider's labs are outsourced to a reference lab, and the reportable conditions are sent directly to the OPH from the reference lab. The Sanitary Code stipulates that all hospitals, laboratories, or other lab facilities that have knowledge of a reportable disease result have the responsibility of notifying the OPH regarding the result. However, the OPH has allowed the reference lab to report the results of outsourced labs on behalf of the referring facility on specific occasions. This has been allowed in order to fulfill Sanitary Code requirements.

Meaningful Use. The electronic submission of laboratory results is a Meaningful Use (MU) objective. For Stage 1 MU, a test or ongoing submission is required. For Stage 2, ongoing submission is required. The attesting facility must report all labs deemed reportable by the Louisiana Sanitary Code using a CMS-approved transmission process and HL7 version 2.5.1 formatting. Each facility must report all reportable lab results, whether or not they were performed in-house or by a reference laboratory. The OPH has been able to receive MU-compliant lab reports since 2011; therefore, exclusions cannot be claimed for this measure. Prior to the issuance of an incentive payment for MU, Louisiana Medicaid staff verifies testing or ongoing submission with the Office of Public Health's Center for Population Health Informatics and requests documentation from the attesting facility.

Acceptable documentation includes:

  1. dated screenshots that illustrate a test submission or ongoing transmission with identifying information (e.g., NPI, provider name, facility name);
  2. a dated record of transmission with identifying information; or
  3. a letter or email from OPH or other registry confirming test or ongoing transmission.  

When a facility contacts the OPH with the intention of submitting MU-standard electronic laboratory reporting (ELR), they will receive documentation for creating the messages and the process for on-boarding. In Louisiana, this is a fairly quick and straightforward process.

Public health reporting for ELR can also be achieved through the Louisiana Health Information Exchange (LaHIE). For more information visit http://www.lhcqf.org/for-providers/lahie.

Other useful links include:

The OPH ELR Coordinator can be contacted at:
Email: elr@la.gov
Phone 504-568-3384