Analysis of clinical specimens to obtain information about the health of a patient.

Data Element

Specimen Type

Substance being sampled or tested. (e.g., nasopharyngeal swab, whole blood, serum, urine, wound swab).

Applicable Vocabulary Standard(s)

Applicable Standards
  • SNOMED International, Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT®) U.S. Edition, March 2022 Release


Lantana Consulting Group Comment

Along with inclusion of Specimen Type, Lantana suggests including Specimen Collection DateTime. A DateTime element is necessary to track and create useful context when exchanging pathology information. Without it, the progress made by including Specimen Type in USCDI V3 will be limited.

Standard leads to PHINVADS, not specific value sets

Specimen type is a critical component to understanding and validating laboratory tests and results for both clinical care and public health. However, the submission here points to a website that discusses the electronic laboratory reporting program and not to a standard. The link to PHINVADS here similarly does not reference any specific value sets. NACHC believes this data element should reference one or more value sets (with or without relevant standards/profiles) that consist of implemented and validated concepts used in the existing laboratory standards. 


Please see attached NACHC letter, documenting this comment and other feedback for v3 accepted draft data elements.

2022-04-30 NACHC USCDIv3 Letter of Support.pdf

Level 2 Data Element: Specimen type

IMO supports the inclusion of the Laboratory Data Class in USCDI V3 to include the Draft data elements for Tests and Values/Results.

While valuable, IMO questions the capability of ONC certified HIT to store and exchange the Level 2 Data Elements detailed in this submission While many of these data elements are implemented in CLIA for routine exchange between labs and state, tribal, local, or territorial (STLT) public health agencies, we request that this submission be reviewed thoroughly for implementation in ONC certified HIT.

Unified Comment from CDC

  • Additional Use Case: This is a standard data item used by central cancer registries in all states. Data received through data exchange from laboratories to central cancer registries for CDC and NCI’s national cancer surveillance systems, as required by law.  
  • CSTE supports inclusion of this measure into USCDI v3: very useful for laboratory related fields context.

APHL comment to add into USCDIV2

This data element is critical in understanding what a laboratory result may mean - for example a positive culture result from a blood culture has different implications than from a urine culture. In many cases the specimen type can be expressed as part of the LOINC of the test being performed, but if that is not the case (because a less specific LOINC was chosen, or no LOINC was used) then this supports the test result. It has been part of v2 messages for a long time (OBR-15.1) and is required element in ELR R1 (SPM-4).

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