​APHL collaborates with CDC and public health laboratories and health agencies to develop viable options for electronic transmission of laboratory test data and vital epidemiological information. Below are some of the initiatives supported by the Informatics technical assistance (TA) team.

PHLIP Electronic Laboratory Surveillance Message for Influenza

The Public Health Laboratory Interoperability Project (PHLIP) Electronic Laboratory Surveillance Message (ELSM) for influenza utilizes the HL7 messaging standard to facilitate automated influenza data exchange between CDC state public health laboratories. Standardized messaging improves data quality and accessibility, allowing laboratorians to transmit granular data in a compatible format. PHLIP terminologists collaborate with local laboratorians and with regulatory and standards-developing organizations to harmonize laboratory tests and results, and to represent these consistently using standard vocabularies and terminology. 

Currently the TA team is working with partners to incorporate epidemiological, immune response, antiviral susceptibility and genetic characterizations as well as data from the CDC's National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) into the HL7 data feed. These additions will improve response to disease outbreaks, allowing authorities to base decisions on more timely and complete data. 

Electronic Laboratory Surveillance Message for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

APHL, in conjunction with the CDC National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases' Division of Viral Diseases and Division of Bacterial Diseases, is supporting four public health laboratories to conduct VPD diagnostic testing on specimens from state public health laboratories. Results are submitted to CDC.

NNDSS Modernization Initiative (NMI)

The TA Team is collaborating with CDC and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists to deliver technical assistance to state and local jurisdictions to modernize surveillance systems and processes used to receive nationally notifiable disease data to provide more comprehensive, timely and higher quality data for public health decision making. The TA Team is providing virtual and on-site technical assistance to jurisdictions implementing the newly revised case notification message. Work includes development of tools and resources to facilitate these implementations and build a knowledge management repository.

Electronic Laboratory Reporting Technical Assistance (ELRTA)

APHL is collaborating with CDC to offer technical assistance to public health agencies and laboratories to implement and advance electronic laboratory reporting with diverse messaging partners. ELR allows laboratories and public health agencies to exchange data using a fast and potentially more streamlined process. ELRTA enables ELR capability on a larger scale, supporting commercial labs with a HL7 lab results message in addition to public health agencies and public health laboratories. This program is providing technical assistance to many jurisdictions and more are in the pipeline. TA requests are still being accepted.

Rabies

APHL supports CDC, state and local public health agencies, and public health, agriculture, veterinary and contract laboratories to establish surveillance of rabies in animals to inform disease emergence and spread. The project hones ELR surveillance work and explores cloud-based processing approaches and storage via the APHL Information Messaging Services (AIMS) environment to allow secure, direct connection from CDC program areas. Technical assistance is offered to laboratories to assist with data extracts, integration broker work, vocabulary mapping, message creation and message transport. Specifically, the project designs and implements approaches related to animal rabies surveillance including:

  • Documents ELR data requirements for animal rabies using the HL7 2.5.1 constrained profile
  • Identifies a message structure to be used and constrain it for non-human subjects
  • Examines options for streamlining data sent to CDC for non-human surveillance, looking at both the transport and message structure
  • Designs and implements processing and storage of received data, including evaluating cloud options
  • Implements HL7 ELR for animal rabies at reporting laboratories through APHL technical assistance
  • Evaluates web mapping and analysis options in use at CDC

For information, contact Laura Carlton, Sr. Specialist, Informatics at laura.carlton@aphl.org​.