New Lab-Messaging Specification Proposed as Standard for EHR Systems

CCHIT includes ELINCS v1.0 in first-round certification criteria

A new initiative that seeks to encourage adoption of electronic health record systems has moved a giant step closer to its goal. The EHR-Lab Interoperability and Connectivity Specification (ELINCS) project has completed version 1.0 of its lab-messaging specification, an implementation guide for lab-result reporting based on HL7. The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) has included ELINCS v1.0 among the handful of interoperability specifications it has proposed for its first round of certification criteria for electronic health record systems.

ELINCS facilitates the delivery of electronic clinical laboratory results to clinicians in the office setting. It provides a precise and generally applicable lab-reporting specification that can be adopted as an industry standard, thereby eliminating the need for clinical laboratories and ambulatory EHR systems to define anew each interface that is implemented. The ELINCS 1.0 specification is available on

The ELINCS specification was developed using a collaborative process that included EHR vendors such as Allscripts, e-MDs, GE Medical Systems, Misys, NextGen, and WebMD, and lab-services providers such as Ameripath, LabCorp, and Quest Diagnostics. Representatives from hospital laboratory information system vendors, government bodies, and industry working groups also participated. Broader industry feedback was obtained during a public comment period in May 2005.

“I’m very pleased to see this progress from ELINCS in standardizing the transmission of clinical laboratory results to offices,” said Mark Leavitt, M.D., Ph.D., Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) chief medical officer and CCHIT chair. “By reducing the cost of this crucial data interface, ELINCS will ultimately lead to more widespread adoption of EHRs.”

Over the next several months, the ELINCS Technical Working Group will be developing a second version of the specification. The next version of the specification will be posted for public comment in October 2005 and submitted to CCHIT upon its completion. People interested in commenting on future drafts of the ELINCS specifications can send their email address to [email protected]

ELINCS is funded and convened by the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF).

About the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology

The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) is a voluntary, private sector initiative formed to accelerate the adoption of robust, interoperable health care information technology throughout the United States by creating an efficient, credible, sustainable mechanism for the certification of health care IT products. For more information, visit

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About the California Health Care Foundation

The California Health Care Foundation is dedicated to advancing meaningful, measurable improvements in the way the health care delivery system provides care to the people of California, particularly those with low incomes and those whose needs are not well served by the status quo. We work to ensure that people have access to the care they need, when they need it, at a price they can afford.