CDC's Laboratory Outreach Communication System (LOCS)

CDC’s gateway to interact with U.S. clinical laboratories

What is LOCS?

The Laboratory Outreach Communication System (LOCS) is managed by the Division of Laboratory Systems (DLS) in the Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services (CSELS). Currently, LOCS is a functional CDC mailbox (LOCS@cdc.gov) designed to provide updates and answer questions from clinical laboratories through coordination with professional organizations, CDC programs, and state public health laboratories.

The mailbox is managed and monitored by DLS staff and is active during regular business hours. Information and updates are sent to clinical laboratories through professional organizations. This system is available to other CDC programs and may also be used during emergency responses to disseminate information in collaboration with CDC’s Joint Information Center in the Emergency Operations Center.

What is DLS role with clinical laboratories?

DLS mission is to strengthen the nation’s clinical and public health laboratory system by continually improving quality and safety, informatics and data science, and workforce competency.

Through work with other CDC programs, federal and state agencies, professional societies, and international organizations, DLS supports the development and adoption of best practices, guidelines, recommendations, and tools for improved quality and safety in clinical and public health laboratories. DLS also develops, implements, and evaluates informatics and data science approaches to strengthen laboratory information systems and laboratory standards for improved clinical and public health outcomes. The division also provides leadership and support to enhance the clinical and public health laboratory workforce through initiatives that strengthen recruitment, retention, management, and training.

As part of DLS scope, LOCS provides an additional opportunity to regularly interact with clinical laboratories in a structured and cohesive way.

How can LOCS help CDC communicate with clinical laboratories?

LOCS allows clinical laboratories to access specific information and technical support from CDC. LOCS currently provides laboratories with a forum in which to ask questions and receive information.
This messaging system is designed to provide

  • Real-time information on laboratory diagnostic testing issues
  • Recommendations on laboratory safety, exposures, quality, and testing initiatives
  • Guidance for improving health information technology and interoperability
  • Communication messages during emergencies and facilitate requests for additional laboratory surge capacity in collaboration with the EOC Laboratory Task Force
  • Technical information related to Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) requirements
  • Information on training opportunities and articles of interest such as Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) or other CDC-authored publications

In addition, LOCS receives technical questions from clinical laboratories and provides assistance directly, or triages and facilitates these inquiries to other CDC programs that have the appropriate subject matter expertise. For more information, please contact LOCS@cdc.gov

Page last reviewed: February 21, 2019