Arizona laboratories are required to report certain infectious disease test results to public health so that our state and local disease investigators can prevent and control further spread of disease. Many labs do this by faxing or mailing paper to ADHS. Our informatics staff in the Office of Infectious Disease Services are transitioning these labs to Electronic Laboratory Reporting (ELR). The ELR process uses a national format for reporting using a standard called Health Level Seven (HL7). HL7 is used throughout healthcare to share health information between systems and between different healthcare providers.
Electronic Laboratory Reporting increases the timeliness and quality of lab reports, which aligns with our agency’s strategic map goal of leveraging technology to achieve results. Infectious disease investigators use these reports to understand disease burden in the state and focus public health interventions. ELR data helps disease investigators better understand what is going on and act quickly to prevent the spread of disease. In early May our informatics staff, in collaboration with hospital staff, transitioned three Scottsdale Healthcare hospitals to electronic reporting. The ELR team will continue to work with local and national labs to improve timeliness of infectious disease reporting in Arizona.