There are two standard identifiers used in laboratory test & QC samples. These are the SID (Sample ID) or LabNo which refers to a sample and a PID (Patient ID) which refers to the Patient

The SID is usually printed as a barcode label and stuck on the sample tube. Most analysers scan and read the barcode label when they process the sample. 


LabNo or SID-01

One analyser sends our SID in the PID field


LabNo or SID-02

We want to use the SID or LabNo as the identifier

We store the sample with the printed SID barcode

LabComm Solution

LabNo or SID-03

An analyser specific option allows us to choose which field to extract the SID from

We don`t want to store blank or empty records that have no identifiers

We have the option to discard records without a SID or PID as we have no means of tracing these records to a patient or visit.

Some analysers can send graphical data such as a chart or plot. The data can be captured and stored, both in the DB and in HL7 format.


graphical data-01

A veterinary Haematology analyser such as VetScan HM5 analyser sends the cell distributions for a blood sample. Some of the test results such as RBC (Red Blood Cells)  WBC (White Blood Cells) and PLT (Platelets) are displayed as graphs as well as numeric results. 


graphical data-02

We want to store the plots and charts in a standard format so we can produce lab reports that display the charts the analyser has sent.



The data stream is processed and we extract the graphical data. Thsi data is stored in two tables, one of the tables stores the points and the values and the other stores the Parameters such as WBC^Channels and WBC^Scale(fl)

In addition, we send the data in  HL7 format which includes the values for the graphs

There does not seem to be a standard graphical data formats and so each analyser`s graphical data has to be processed and interfaced to separately

We can convert the test codes sent from the analyser into codes to match those expected in your LIMS. We can standardise test codes between analysers - so that a code for Sodium blood plasma is the same between different analysers. We can do this in several different ways - either as an analyser specific configuration or via an ODBC connection, if you access the data via SQL.

One solution is to match an analyser testcode using a numeric ID to the testcode in your LIMS.  The Cobas e411 analyser sends a test code 10 which is the code for TSH. The Abbott Architect sends a code ^531~CMV IgG. We will translate these codes to a set of numbers to match those used in your LIMS.

 This converts unfriendly names into recognisable test codes. A test name and short test name can be added in this way.

 Test codes  sent from the Abbott Architect

^149~HBsAg Qual
^531~CMV IgG
^541~CMV IgM


These are easy to interpret as we have the numeric test code and a recognisable short test name. 

 However, most analysers simply send a numeric code such as



LabComm sets up a Test code translation table. The numbers in the Test ID column are provided by your system


^149~HBsAg Qual Hep B surface antibody Hep B sur Ab 16
^161~Anti-HCV Anti-HCV (Hep C antibody) Hep C  Ab 4
^442~HTLV-I/II Anti-HTLV I & II HTLV 8
^531~CMV IgG CMV IgG (Cytomegalovirus) CMV IgG 6
^541~CMV IgM CMV IgM (Cytomegalovirus) CMV IgM 7
^561~Syphilis VDRL (Syphilis) Syphilis 5
^580~Anti-HBcII Anti-HBc (Hep B core antibody) Hep B core Ab 14


You can now store the results for CMV IgG against your Test ID number 6. 

We may need to convert and standardise unitage in the test & QC data units.




One analyser sends data for Calcium in conventional units 


A second analyser sends mEq/L

A third  analyser sends mmol/l



We want to use SI Units

These will be mmol/L for Calcium



We find two fields in the database called UnitsOrig and Units.

UnitsOrig has our original values mg/dL, mEq/L or mmol/l

Units has mmol/L.

We need to be aware that we are doing two different things.

Converting mmol/l  to mmol/L is a simple label change.

mEq/L to mmol/L requires a conversion factor.

We store both our original and revised values and need to compare them in order to validate the system and the conversion

An analyser sends a character result such as + and - and you want to record it as Positive or Negative. The LIS or HIS system will only accept a Positive or Negative result so it has to be converted.

Different analysers send these results with different values.

+ and -

The Biomerieux BacT/ALERT is automated microbial detection system.

Results are sent with values + or -

BACTEC MGIT 960 Mycobacterial Detection System

Results are sent with values INST_POSITIVE and INST_NEGATIVE

Abbott Diagnostics Architect Immunochemistry

Results are sent with values  Nonreactive and Reactive

Beckman Access 2 Immunology Analyzer

Results are sent with values Nonreactive and Reactive

In addition to these Positive or Negative results some of the analyser with send a numeric value with an S/CO (Standard cutoff rate)