HL7 OBR Segment – Observation Request

The HL7 OBR segment transmits information about an exam, diagnostic study/observation, or assessment that is specific to an order or result. It is used most frequently in ORM (Order) and ORU (Observation Result) messages, and has an important role in carrying the placer and filler order numbers.

An OBR segment should always be included in orders where a request is made for a given set of observations. For lab tests and diagnostic studies, each OBR segment generally applies to a single specimen or diagnostic study only. With lab testing, there may not necessarily be a 1:1 relationship between test and specimen (i.e different test batteries may have multiple OBR segments even though it is a single specimen). ORU (Observation Result) messages should contain the OBR segment followed by the OBX segment for each observation.

Usage in the ORM Message

In an ORM message, the OBR segment is part of an optional group that provides details about the order. When the order placer creates the ORM message, they will include the Placer Order Number in the OBR-2 and/or ORC-2 fields. These two fields should contain the same information, and at least one of the two must contain the placer order number. The message may contain multiple orders for which the rules still apply.

The OBR segment (shown in red) from an ORM message is shown below:


ORC|NW|2156286|||||||20060221061809|^MOUSE^MINNIE^A^^^RN||TBU^BUTLER JR MD^THOMAS^E^^^|||||CLINIC
OBR|1|2156286||MRSHLR-C^MR Shoulder right wo/contrast|||||||||R/O RCT VS TENDONITIS|||TBU^BUTLER JR     MD^THOMAS^E^^^||…

Note that the Placer Order Number in the OBR-2 matches the Placer Order Number in the ORC-2.

Usage in the ORU Message

In an ORU message, the OBR segment is used as a report header and contains important information about the order being fulfilled (i.e. order number, request date/time, observation date/time, ordering provider, etc.). It is part of a group that can be used more than once for each observation result that is reported in the message.

When the filler creates the ORU message, they will include the Filler Order Number (such as an accession number) in the OBR-3 and/or ORC-3 fields. If the filler order number is not present in the ORC-3, it must be present in the OBR-3 because the ORC segment is optional in the ORU message.

The OBR segment (shown in red) from an ORU message is shown below:


ORC|RE|2156286|A140875||||||20060221061809|^MOUSE^MINNIE^^^^RN||TBU^BUTLER JR MD^THOMAS^E^^^|||||CLINIC OBR|1|2156286|A140875|MRSHLR-C^MR Shoulder right wo/contrast||| 20060220141000|||||…

Note that the Filler Order Number in the OBR-3 matches the Filler Order Number in the ORC-3, and that the Placer Order Number is also included in the OBR-2 and ORC-2 fields. This is typically the case for ORU messages.

OBR Attributes

The fields in the OBR segment are as follows:

SEQ LEN DT OPT RP/# ELEMENT NAME
1 4 SI C   Set ID - OBR
2 75 EI C   Placer Order Number
3 75 EI C   Filler Order Number
4 200 CE R   Universal Service ID
5 2 ID B   Priority
6 26 TS B   Requested Date/time
7 26 TS C   Observation Date/Time
8 26 TS O   Observation End Date/Time
9 20 CQ O   Collection Volume
10 60 XCN O Y Collector Identifier
11 1 ID O   Specimen Action Code
12 60 CE O   Danger Code
13 300 ST O   Relevant Clinical Info.
14 26 TS C   Specimen Received Date/Time
15 300 CM O   Specimen Source
16 80 XCN O Y Ordering Provider
17 40 XTN O Y/2 Order Callback Phone Number
18 60 ST O   Placer field 1
19 60 ST O   Placer field 2
20 60 ST O   Filler Field 1
21 60 ST O   Filler Field 2
22 26 TS C   Results Rpt/Status Chng - Date/Time
23 40 CM O   Charge to Practice
24 10 ID O   Diagnostic Serv Sect ID
25 1 ID C   Result Status
26 400 CM O   Parent Result
27 200 TQ O Y Quantity/Timing
28 150 XCN O Y/5 Result Copies To
29 150 CM O   Parent
30 20 ID O   Transportation Mode
31 300 CE O Y Reason for Study
32 200 CM O   Principal Result Interpreter
33 200 CM O Y Assistant Result Interpreter
34 200 CM O Y Technician
35 200 CM O Y Transcriptionist
36 26 TS O   Scheduled Date/Time
37 4 NM O   Number of Sample Containers
38 60 CE O Y Transport Logistics of Collected Sample
39 200 CE O Y Collector’s Comment
40 60 CE O   Transport Arrangement Responsibility
41 30 ID O   Transport Arranged
42 1 ID O   Escort Required
43 200 CE O Y Planned Patient Transport Comment

*Note: For the complete HL7 Standard, please go to the HL7 organization website.