Lab Matters Spring 2019 - Page 29

INFORMATICS APHL Makes Progress on Electronic Lab Reporting for Animal Rabies by Rachel Shepherd, specialist, Informatics Reliable and timely methods for data exchange are critical for the surveillance of animal rabies disease. Currently, most laboratories that APHL works with either are not reporting or are sporadically reporting rabies data manually in a variety of ways. Typically, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) receives rabies data from laboratories on an annual basis, making surveillance nearly impossible. In order to facilitate more timely rabies reporting, APHL is collaborating with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Poxvirus and Rabies Branch (PRB) and reporting entities (REs) including public health, agriculture and academic laboratories to accelerate the adoption of standardized Health-Level Seven (HL7) ELR 2.5.1 results to improve the overall national picture of rabies disease trends. Digital illustration of Rabies virus APHL’s technical assistance team for electronic lab reporting (ELR) of rabies— consisting of technical architects and terminologists and funded by the CDC—works with the laboratory to electronically report animal rabies data using a standardized vocabulary and message format. Not only does this automation ease the reporting burden for laboratorians, it ensures the timely and accurate flow of information to CDC. Reporting happens in near real-time, providing a comprehensive snapshot of rabies trends. APHL’s technical assistance team for electronic lab reporting (ELR) of rabies— consisting of technical architects and terminologists and funded by the CDC—works with the laboratory to electronically report animal rabies data using a standardized vocabulary and message format. rabies message uses the same format as PHLIP 2.5.1. If laboratories are working with APHL on other technical assistance, rabies messaging could easily be treated as a tack-on project. To achieve this, APHL works alongside the laboratory informatics team, state epidemiologists and state veterinarians to build and validate messages. The ELR does not take the place of or supersede existing mechanisms for reporting to state epidemiologists; rather it works alongside a laboratory’s existing system. Right now, three laboratories are in full production and actively reporting, and nine others are in the onboarding and validation process. APHL is striving to get the majority of states electronically reporting their animal rabies data by the end of the year. n For most laboratories, especially those who have already upgraded to 2.5.1 HL7, this project is quite manageable, as the PublicHealthLabs @APHL APHL.org To find out how your laboratory can electronically report Animal Rabies data, please contact Rachel Shepherd at Rachel.shepherd@aphl.org, or 240-485-2796. Spring 2019 LAB MATTERS 27