HL7 ORU – HL7 Result Message (Observation Result)

The HL7 ORU-R01 message transmits observations and results from the producing system/filler i.e. LIS, EKG system) to the ordering system/placer (i.e. HIS, physician office application). It may also be used to transmit result data from the producing system to a medical record archival system, or to another system not part of the original order process. ORU messages are also sometimes used to register or link to clinical trials, or for medical reporting purposes for drugs and devices.

Types of observations reported in the ORU-R01 message include:

  • Clinical lab results
  • Imaging study reports
  • EKG pulmonary function study results
  • Patient condition or other data (i.e. vital signs, symptoms, allergies, notes, etc.) 

The ORU message is a structured report where each observation is separated into an individual entity, and then separated into fields. ORU messages do not carry images; they use varying data types but most often use text, numbers and codes.

In the ORU message, the OBR (Observation request) and OBX (Observation) segments are most significant due to their functions:

  • The OBR segment is used in all ORU messages 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.). This segment is part of a group that can be used more than once for each observation result that is reported in the message.
  • The OBX segment transmits the actual clinical observation results as a single observation or observation fragment. OBX segments can also be used more than once in the message, and may be followed by one or more NTE segments to provide additional notes and comments about the observation. 

 

The segments and groups of segments in the ORU-R01 message include the following:

SEGMENT/GROUP NAME OPTIONAL/REPEATABLE?
MSH Message header Required
ResultsGroup – Repeatable group, includes groups that follow (unless otherwise noted):
PatientGroup – Optional group
PID Patient identification Required
PID1 Patient demographics Optional
NTE Notes and comments Optional, Repeatable
PatientVisitGroup – Optional group, part of PatientGroup
PV1 Patient visit Required
PV2 Patient visit – additional info Optional
OrderGroup – Repeatable group
ORC Common order Optional
OBR Observation request Required
NTE-1 Notes and comments Optional, Repeatable
ObservationGroup –Repeatable group, part of OrderGroup
OBX Observation Optional
NTE-2 Notes and comments Optional, Repeatable
OrderGroup continued
CTI Clinical trial identification Optional, Repeatable
Additional segment, not part of a group:
DSC Continuation pointer segment Optional

In HL7 pipe and hat format, an ORU-R01 message would look like this (each OBR segment is shown in blue, each OBX segment is shown in red):


MSH|^~\&|LCS|LCA|LIS|TEST9999|199807311532||ORU^R01|3629|P|2.2
PID|2|2161348462|20809880170|1614614|20809880170^TESTPAT||19760924|M|||^^^^
00000-0000|||||||86427531^^^03|SSN# HERE
ORC|NW|8642753100012^LIS|20809880170^LCS||||||19980727000000|||HAVILAND
OBR|1|8642753100012^LIS|20809880170^LCS|008342^UPPER RESPIRATORY
CULTURE^L|||19980727175800||||||SS#634748641 CH14885 SRC:THROA
SRC:PENI|19980727000000||||||20809880170||19980730041800||BN|F

OBX|1|ST|008342^UPPER RESPIRATORY CULTURE^L||FINALREPORT|||||N|F||| 19980729160500|BN
ORC|NW|8642753100012^LIS|20809880170^LCS||||||19980727000000|||HAVILAND
OBR|2|8642753100012^LIS|20809880170^LCS|997602^.^L|||19980727175800||||G|||
19980727000000||||||20809880170||19980730041800|||F|997602|||008342

OBX|2|CE|997231^RESULT 1^L||M415|||||N|F|||19980729160500|BN
NTE|1|L|MORAXELLA (BRANHAMELLA) CATARRHALIS
NTE|2|L| HEAVY GROWTH
NTE|3|L| BETA LACTAMASE POSITIVE
OBX|3|CE|997232^RESULT 2^L||MR105|||||N|F|||19980729160500|BN
NTE|1|L|ROUTINE RESPIRATORY FLORA

Additional information can be found on the HL7 Standards resource site or visit the Corepoint Health blog for additional insights and observations on healthcare IT news.