Electronic Lab Reporting (ELR)

​Electronic laboratory reporting (ELR) is the electronic transmission of laboratory results for reportable diseases to public health agencies as mandated by the State of Maryland or federal law. By replacing manual reporting of laboratory test results, ELR significantly enhances the accuracy, timeliness, and completeness of reportable disease data, thereby allowing public health agencies to respond more quickly to diseases of public health importance​​.​​


Electronic Formats



The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) requires the use of Health Level 7 International (HL7) version 2.5.1 messages for electronic transmission of ELR data.

If your laboratory is interested in sending results through an HL7 interface, please refer to the MDH HL7 requirements​, which should be used in conjunction with the ​HL7 2.5.1 implementation guide.​

Non-HL7 electronic methods

For COVID-19 results only, there are several electronic methods for reporting results. Please see the COVID-19 Reporting to Maryland Department of Health page for more details.

All other results must be reported electronically via HL7.​

Onboarding Process (HL7)​

Reporting results via HL7 requires a period of validation and quality assurance (QA). During this testing period, laboratories must continue (or start to) report all reportable results through non-electronic means. Please see MDH's list of reportable conditions in Maryland for details on reportable diseases, required reporting timeframes, what data should be reported, where it should be reported, and through what methods.

Please note that HIV results must not be reported by fax.

Once the MDH ELR Team has approved your laboratory's HL7 messages, they will be processed into the production version of NEDSS, MDH's infectious disease surveillance system. Results must continue to be reported manually during the production phase, until the MDH ELR team has determined reporting is complete through comparison of manual and electronic results.​

Transport Method


HL7 messages must be sent via SFTP. SFTP client software such as WinSCP or Filezilla can be used. Both clients can be downloaded for free. Please see the instructions for how to send data to MDH using WinSCP. If your laboratory does not already have an SFTP account set up with MDH, please contact mdh.elronboarding@maryland.gov and you will be provided with a user name and connection instructions.

 Resources for laboratories

​​​Page last updated January 5, 2024​