Data Element


Update definition to include assigning authority

As previously noted an identifer must include a means to identify the system or organization that created it. Best practice is to not re-use identifiers over time, so that they remian unique - at least within one organization. Updated definition: Alphanumeric value to uniquely identify an indivudal specimen (at minimum, within one organization, which must be identified by including the assigning authority for the identifier). Example includes but is not limited to accession number.

APHL supports inclusion of this data element

APHL supports inclusion of this data element as it will better support the tracking of the specimen across orgnaizaitons - in order to fully do that it woudl be helpful to add the following statement to the definition:

Sequence of characters assigned by a laboratory for an individual specimen, including a means to identify the orgnaization or system that assigned it. 

THIA Comment on Laboratory: Specimen Identifier

The Texas Health Informatics Alliance (THIA) Policy and Standards Working Group supports the proposal for specimen identifiers. Some institutions already have unique identifiers, but others may not. We believe that there is value in having two methods for tracking specimens.

CDC's Consolidated Comment for USCDI v4

  • The specimen identifier is assigned at the time of collection from the patient. This identifier is critical to track with the specimen as it is transported from one point of healthcare to another, as well as to ensure that the laboratory results from the testing and evaluation are linked to the correct specimen. This is extremely critical for specimens that are sent out to a sub-lab or parts of the specimen are sent to different sub-labs for additional testing. It is critical that the specimen ID assigned at collection travel with the specimen and all parts as it is evaluated across one or more laboratories.
  • Comments from NACCHO: NACCHO supports including the data element specimen identifier
  • Comments from CSTE: CSTE agrees with CDC's recommendation for this data element.

APHL Comments on ISA 2022

APHL supports inclusion of this data element in the Laboratory class of USCDI V4, because it is the main way laboratories identify related lab data records in their system. For lab reports that are de-identified, for example for public health reporting to federal agencies or for research, this identifier is often the only means to link related results on the same specimen together. It may also be used as a proxy for the patient identifier, which is a CLIA required element in systems, that do not support patient administrative functionality.

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