Syndromic Data Element Prioritization

A CDC job aid to support site administrators


Site administrators need to understand priority levels, which help guarantee data quality in the production environment. Priority levels are used when onboarding new facilities or re-onboarding existing facilities.

Graphic of computer showing data categories

Priority levels support data quality

Download this job aid: Syndromic Data Element Prioritization

NSSP, in collaboration with the syndromic surveillance community, has assigned priority levels to data elements within syndromic HL7® messages. Data elements are described in detail in the PHIN Messaging Guide for Syndromic Surveillance 2.0. Processing details for each element can be found in the NSSP Data Dictionary.

Priority levels help guarantee data quality in the production environment and are used when onboarding new facilities or re-onboarding existing facilities. Priority levels are included in the NSSP New Site Onboarding and New Facility Onboarding guides.

Priority 1 data elements

Priority 1 data elements are the minimum required to perform surveillance activities. Shown below are the required fields for maintaining a minimum level of completeness and validity so that a facility can achieve and maintain production status.

Priority 1 Data Elements
Processed Column Priority Required HL7®
Admit_Date_Time 1 R PV1-44.1
Admit_Reason_Description 1 RE PV2-3.2, PV2-3
C_Chief_Complaint 1 CRE OBX or PV2-3
C_Death 1 CRE PID.30.1
C_Facility_ID 1 CR EVN-7.2, MSH-4.2 or MSH-4.1
C_FacType_Patient_Class 1 CR OBX-2,3,5
C_Patient_Age 1 CRE OBX-2,3,5
C_Patient_Age_Years 1 CRE OBX-2,3,5
C_Patient_Class 1 CR PV1.2.1 or calculate
C_Unique_Patient_ID 1 CR PID.3.1
Chief_Complaint_Text 1 RE OBX-2,3,5
Diagnosis_Code 1 RE DG1-3.1, DG1-3.4
Diagnosis_Description 1 RE DG1-3.2, DG1-3.5
Facility_Type_Code 1 R OBX-2,3,5
Patient_Class_Code 1 R PV1.2.1
Patient_Zip 1 RE PID.11.5
Processing_ID 1 R MSH.11.1
Sending_Facility_ID 1 R MSH-4.2 or MSH-4.1
Treating_Facility_ID 1 R EVN.7.2
Trigger_Event 1 R MSH.9.2
Visit_ID 1 R PV1.19.1

Priority 2 data elements

Priority 2 data elements are also useful for surveillance activities and may be required by sites before a facility can move to production. NSSP requires these data elements meet minimum standards of completeness and validity within 12 months of a facility achieving production status.

Priority 2 Data Elements
Processed Column Priority Required HL7®
First_Patient_ID 2 R PID-3.1
Medical_Record_Number 2 R PID-3.1
Sending_Facility_ID_Source 2 R MSH-4.1
Message_Date_Time 2 R MSH.7.1
Recorded_Date_Time 2 R EVN.2.1
Discharge_Disposition 2 RE PV1.36.1
Discharge_Date_Time 2 RE PV1.45.1
Administrative_Sex 2 RE PID.8.1
Age_Reported 2 RE OBX.5.1
Age_Units_Reported 2 RE OBX.6.2
C_Patient_Age_Units 2 C OBX.6.2
Race_Code 2 RE PID-10.1
Ethnicity_Code 2 RE PID-22.1
Ethnicity_Description 2 RE PID-22.2
Patient_City 2 RE PID.11.3
Patient_State 2 RE PID.11.4
C_Patient_County 2 CRE PID-11.9
Patient_Country 2 RE PID.11.6
Admit_Reason_Code 2 RE PV2-3.1, PV2-3
Chief_Complaint_Code 2 RE OBX-2,3,5
Diagnosis_Type 2 RE DG1.6.1
Version_ID 2 R MSH.12.1

Priority 3 data elements

Priority 3 data elements are mostly optional data elements—still useful for surveillance activities, but not required by most sites. Currently, the NSSP does not require that these fields be populated in incoming data.

Priority 3 Data Elements
Processed Column Priority Required HL7®
First_Patient_ID_Type_Code 3 O PID-3.5
First_Patient_ID_Assigning_Authority 3 O PID-3.4
First_Patient_ID_Assigning_Facility 3 O PID-3.6
Medical_Record_Number_Assigning_Authority 3 O PID.3.1
Medical_Record_Number_Assigning_Facility 3 O PID.3.1
Visit_ID_Assigning_Authority 3 O PV1.19.4
Visit_ID_Assigning_Facility 3 O PV1.19.6
Patient_Account_Number 3 O PID.18.1
Alternate_Visit_ID 3 O PV1.50
Facility_Type_Description 3 O OBX-2,3,5
Receiving_Facility 3 O MSH.6.1
Diagnosis_Date_Time 3 O DG1.5.1
Procedure_Date_Time 3 O PR1.5
Observation_Date_Time 3 O OBX.14.1
Onset_Date 3 O OBX.5.1
Patient_Death_Indicator 3 O PID.30.1
Death_Date_Time 3 O PID.29.1
Admission_Type 3 O PV1.4
Admit_Source 3 O PV1.14
Ambulatory_Status 3 O PV1.15
Hospital_Service 3 O PV1.10
Insurance_Company_ID 3 O IN1-3
Insurance_Coverage 3 O IN1-15
Previous_Hospital_Unit 3 O PV1-6
Provider_Type_Code 3 O OBX-2,3,5
Provider_Type_Combo 3 O OBX-2,3,5
Provider_Type_Description 3 O OBX-2,3,5
Unique_Physician_Identifier 3 O PV1-7.1
Unique_Physician_Identifier_Assigning_Authority 3 O PV1-7.9
Hospital_Unit_Code 3 O OBX-2,3,5
Hospital_Unit_Description 3 O OBX-2,3,5
Age_Calculated 3 RE OBX.5.1
Age_Units_Calculated 3 RE OBX.6.2
Birth_Date_Time 3 O PID.7.1
Race_Description 3 O PID-10.2
Triage_Notes 3 O OBX.5.1
Diagnosis_Priority 3 O DG1.15
Event_Type_Code 3 O EVN.1.1
Procedure_Code 3 O PR1.3.3
Procedure_Description 3 O PR1.3.2
Clinical_Impression 3 O OBX-2,3,5
Initial_Acuity_Code 3 O OBX.5.1
Initial_Acuity_Description 3 O OBX.5.1
Initial_Evaluation_Note 3 O OBX-2,3,5
Medication_Code 3 O OBX.5.1
Medication_Description 3 O OBX.5.1
Medication_List 3 O OBX.5.1
Problem_List_Code 3 O OBX.5.1
Problem_List_Description 3 O OBX.5.1
Travel_History 3 O OBX-2,3,5
Initial_Temp 3 O OBX-5
Initial_Temp_Units 3 O OBX-6
Initial_Pulse_Oximetry 3 O OBX-5
Initial_Pulse_Oximetry_Units 3 O OBX-6
Diastolic_Blood_Pressure 3 O OBX-5
Diastolic_Blood_Pressure_Units 3 O OBX-6
Str_Diastolic_Blood_Pressure 3 O OBX-5
Systolic_Diastolic_Blood_Pressure 3 O OBX-5
Systolic_Diastolic_Blood_Pressure_Units 3 O OBX-6
Systolic_Blood_Pressure 3 O OBX-5
Systolic_Blood_Pressure_Units 3 O OBX-6
Pregnancy_Status_Code 3 O OBX-2,3,5
Pregnancy_Status_Description 3 O OBX-2,3,5
Smoking_Status_Code 3 RE OBX-2,3,5
Smoking_Status_Description 3 RE OBX-2,3,5
Body_Mass_Index 3 O OBX-5
Height 3 RE OBX-5
Height_Units 3 RE OBX-6
Weight 3 RE OBX-5
Weight_Units 3 RE OBX-6
Assigned_Patient_Location 3 O PV1-3
Time_Zone 3 O MSH-7.1
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