Electronic Laboratory Flat File for COVID-19

Please note: The WA ELR team has transitioned away from using ELFF reporting. The ELR team will continue to work with some labs to complete their ELFF onboarding. If you wish to report COVID-19 results visit the National Flat File (NFF) page.

What is ELFF?

ELFF is an electronic reporting method for laboratories to submit COVID-19 results to public health. This method meets laboratory notifiable condition reporting requirements in Washington State.

Washington State law requires laboratories to report (i.e. fax) all COVID-19 results to the local health jurisdiction of the patient's residence; this includes positive, negative, inconclusive, and other results.

Upon successful completion of the ELFF onboarding process, laboratories no longer need to fax COVID-19 results. View the list of approved ELFF users.

ELFF reporting meets requirements for laboratories as defined under the Washington Administration Code (WAC) Chapter 246-101 and should only be used for COVID-19 results reporting.

Jurisdiction contact information can be found on this webpage: https://www.doh.wa.gov/AboutUs/PublicHealthSystem/LocalHealthJurisdictions.


ELFF Onboarding Process

Email ELR@doh.wa.gov if you require the use of ELFF to report COVID-19 results. It is highly encouraged that all results are reporting through National Flat File instead of ELFF.

1. Select an ELFF format.

Choose the ELFF file format that works best for your laboratory. We have two options:

  • an Excel spreadsheet for manual data entry
  • a data file option for automation with a report writer

Both formats have been carefully developed to load into our surveillance system and no other formats will be accepted. Templates will be provided after registration.

2. Set-up transport.

Choose the ELFF transport method that works best for your laboratory. We have two options:

  • OneHealthPort Health Information Exchange (HIE)
  • Secure File Transfer (SFT) via WaTech. This option is free and ELFF onboarding staff will submit your request for set-up.

These are the only two methods you can use to submit ELFF data. Do not email your results.

3. Validate ELFF data.

Once your laboratory has developed a file using one of the ELFF formats, submit a sample file through the transport method you selected.

The ELFF onboarding team will confirm that your transport works, and let you know if any fields do not match ELFF template specifications.

During the validation process, the ELFF onboarding team may ask you to submit additional data files to make sure your file can be successfully processed before moving into production.

4. Submit COVID-19 results by ELFF.

The ELFF onboarding team will give you the green light to move into production and will work with you to identify a cut-off time to begin submitting COVID-19 results by ELFF; and stop faxing results.


Contact Information

For questions about ELFF or ELR please contact ELR@doh.wa.gov