Roles and Responsibilities for Message Mapping Guide Implementation

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It takes cohesive effort and a shared understanding of roles and responsibilities across many partners to successfully onboard a jurisdiction for a message mapping guide (MMG).

CDC Data Standardization and Assistance Team

The Data Standardization and Assistance Team (DSAT) is part of the Surveillance and Data Branch in the CDC Division of Health Informatics and Surveillance. DSAT serves as the knowledge source for MMG implementation, informatics, and updates or revisions. DSAT also coordinates jurisdiction onboarding efforts. DSAT:

  • provides subject expertise on the HL7 structure of MMGs and is well-versed in the data elements present in the MMGs, including common jurisdictional barriers related to onboarding these data elements;
  • maintains technical knowledge of the MMG, implements changes and improvements, and creates new MMGs;
  • coordinates all work impacting an MMG, including data element additions or changes, and value set updates; and
  • serves as a knowledge source for vocabulary and HL7 structure for the MMGs.

Each MMG has an MMG lifecycle lead from DSAT who manages development and onboarding of that MMG. The MMG lifecycle lead coordinates onboarding efforts and works with members of DSAT, CDC programs, jurisdictions, and NNDSS partners to maintain and improve MMGs and MMG onboarding efforts.

NNDSS Onboarding Specialist

During onboarding, the MMG lifecycle lead serves as the NNDSS onboarding specialist. The onboarding specialist coordinates meetings and communication among CDC, the jurisdiction, and partners. This provides a single, consistent voice for CDC feedback to the jurisdiction.

CDC Programs

The CDC program is an expert in the data needed to understand the disease, interpret trends, and guide public health action.

The CDC program provides justification for the data to be collected in the MMG. The CDC program also provides feedback on how data elements are defined in an MMG, how the program uses data, and how data will be integrated with previous data collection efforts or other information.


Jurisdiction health departments are responsible for sending HL7 case notifications to CDC. Jurisdictions have expertise on their surveillance systems and the data within their systems.

Jurisdictions apply their knowledge and tools to perform tasks such as data collection, transformation, mapping, and transport.

Jurisdictions send case notifications using the most current HL7 message mapping guide and the current PHIN Messaging Specification for Case Notification (PHIN Spec).  The most current MMGs are available on the NNDSS website under Message Mapping Guides and Standards. The latest PHIN Spec is at Supporting Documents for Implementation.

Technical Assistance

CDC provides or coordinates technical assistance to help jurisdictions build and implement NNDSS HL7 case notification messages. Experts guide participants through planning, gap analysis, data extraction, HL7 message creation, and validation.

Technical assistance includes development and review of the onboarding package and HL7 case notification messages. At completion, jurisdictions are ready to begin onboarding. Learn more about technical assistance.

Shared Goals and Expectations

Successful onboarding requires coordination across multiple partners, clear communication, and effective management of time and tasks.

Shared goals among the NNDSS onboarding specialist, the CDC program, the jurisdiction, and other partners ensure successful and timely MMG implementation.

At the end of onboarding, the jurisdiction will have successfully implemented new HL7 notifications that maintain or improve upon the data sent to CDC in legacy streams.

To achieve efficient MMG onboarding, the CDC program, NNDSS onboarding specialist, jurisdiction, and other partners agree to:

  • determine a timeline in which all parties can produce task outputs within the scheduled timeframe;
  • designate resources to complete tasks within the agreed-upon schedule;
  • work with the NNDSS onboarding specialist as the single source for communications from CDC;
  • practice open communication across all parties;
  • respond in a timely manner; and
  • review documents and sample messages within the timelines jointly agreed upon by the NNDSS onboarding specialist, the jurisdiction, and the CDC program.

Jurisdictions should email before initiating pre-onboarding or making system changes. This facilitates discussions with CDC programs and partners to ensure the jurisdiction is aware of the latest MMG updates, capacity needed for onboarding, additional information to facilitate onboarding the MMG, and technical assistance options.


  1. Overview
  2. Roles and Responsibilities for Message Mapping Guide Implementation
  3. Phase 1 (of 3)
  4. Phase 2 (of 3)
  5. Phase 3 (of 3)