Informatics Research Seminar: Implementing electronic laboratory reporting to the North Carolina Division of Public Health for attesting to Public Health Meaningful Use objectives

October 31 @ 4:00 – 5:00 pm


Speaker: Emilie Lamb, MSPH
Presented from Duke University

Broadcast Link: Seminar



The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act provides support for electronic health information exchange nationally. As part of the Act, Eligible Hospitals (EHs) are granted incentive payments if they can demonstrate that they have engaged in efforts to adopt, implement, or upgrade to certified electronic health record technology.  In order to receive these payments, EHs must attest to at least one of the menu options related to population or public health.

After an initial planning discussion with NC DPH, the client hospital is responsible for: 1) evaluating the volume of reportable laboratory results performed “in house”; 2) evaluating the changes required to the Laboratory Information System to allow for the submission of ELR messages conformant with the standards required by NC DPH; and 3) configuring and installing any required software changes. Following completion of these tasks, the client hospital submits a test message and begins the follow-up submission process which includes additional test file submissions and feedback from NC DPH. Once the follow-up submission process is completed, the client hospital is deemed capable of transmitting reportable laboratory results to NC DPH on an on-going basis in accordance with the public health meaningful use objectives.

The on-boarding process proved effective in the implementation of an ELR feed from a major client health system in North Carolina that included 13 hospital facilities in 2012.  This feed allows for the electronic transmission of over 7,000 reportable laboratory results annually, drastically reducing the burden on the laboratories as well as data entry staff. The major challenge to implementation of this feed included a lack of available personnel and dedication of resources.

Conclusions: With adequate time and devoted resources, the on-boarding process for electronic laboratory reporting can be an efficient and effective mechanism to complete the required reporting to NC DPH and to meet the ELR public health meaningful use objective.


Emilie Lamb  is an Epidemiologist with the Communicable Disease Branch of the NC Division of Public Health and is the Meaningful Use Program Consultant for North Carolina.  As the MU Program Consultant, Emilie is responsible for coordinating the response to Meaningful Use for North Carolina as well as managing the NC Division of Public Health’s electronic laboratory reporting (ELR) project. She received her Masters of Science in Public Health Microbiology and Emerging Infectious Diseases from the George Washington University in Washington, DC.