The HL7 OBR segment transmits information about an exam, diagnostic study/observation, or assessment that is specific to an order or result. It is used most frequently in ORM (Order) and ORU (Observation Result) messages, and has an important role in carrying the placer and filler order numbers.

An OBR segment should always be included in orders where a request is made for a given set of observations. For lab tests and diagnostic studies, each OBR segment generally applies to a single specimen or diagnostic study only. With lab testing, there may not necessarily be a 1:1 relationship between test and specimen (i.e different test batteries may have multiple OBR segments even though it is a single specimen). ORU (Observation Result) messages should contain the OBR segment followed by the OBX segment for each observation.

Usage in the ORM Message

In an ORM message, the OBR segment is part of an optional group that provides details about the order. When the order placer creates the ORM message, they will include the Placer Order Number in the OBR-2 and/or ORC-2 fields. These two fields should contain the same information, and at least one of the two must contain the placer order number. The message may contain multiple orders for which the rules still apply.

The OBR segment (show in red)  from an ORM message is shown below:

ORC|NW|2156286|||||||20060221061809|^MOUSE^MINNIE^A^^^RN||TBU^BUTLER JR MD^THOMAS^E^^^|||||CLINIC
OBR|1|2156286||MRSHLR-C^MR Shoulder right wo/contrast|||||||||R/O RCT VS TENDONITIS|||TBU^BUTLER JR MD^THOMAS^E^^^||…

Note that the Placer Order Number in the OBR-2 matches the Placer Order Number in the ORC-2.

Usage in the ORU Message

In an ORU message, the OBR segment is used as a report header and contains important information about the order being fulfilled (i.e. order number, request date/time, observation date/time, ordering provider, etc.). It is part of a group that can be used more than once for each observation result that is reported in the message.

When the filler creates the ORU message, they will include the Filler Order Number (such as an accession number) in the OBR-3 and/or ORC-3 fields. If the filler order number is not present in the ORC-3, it must be present in the OBR-3 because the ORC segment is optional in the ORU message.

The OBR segment (shown in red) from an ORU message is shown below:

ORC|RE|2156286|A140875||||||20060221061809|^MOUSE^MINNIE^^^^RN||TBU^BUTLER JR MD^THOMAS^E^^^|||||CLINIC
OBR|1|2156286|A140875|MRSHLR-C^MR Shoulder right wo/contrast||| 20060220141000|||||…

Note that the Filler Order Number in the OBR-3 matches the Filler Order Number in the ORC-3, and that the Placer Order Number is also included in the OBR-2 and ORC-2 fields. This is typically the case for ORU messages.

OBR Attributes

The fields in the OBR segment are as follows:

275EICPlacer Order Number
375EICFiller Order Number
4200CERUniversal Service ID
626TSBRequested Date/time
726TSCObservation Date/Time
826TSOObservation End Date/Time
920CQOCollection Volume
1060XCNOYCollector Identifier
111IDOSpecimen Action Code
1260CEODanger Code
13300STORelevant Clinical Info.
1426TSCSpecimen Received Date/Time
15300CMOSpecimen Source
1680XCNOYOrdering Provider
1740XTNOY/2Order Callback Phone Number
1860STOPlacer field 1
1960STOPlacer field 2
2060STOFiller Field 1
2160STOFiller Field 2
2226TSCResults Rpt/Status Chng – Date/Time
2340CMOCharge to Practice
2410IDODiagnostic Serv Sect ID
251IDCResult Status
26400CMOParent Result
28150XCNOY/5Result Copies To
3020IDOTransportation Mode
31300CEOYReason for Study
32200CMOPrincipal Result Interpreter
33200CMOYAssistant Result Interpreter
3626TSOScheduled Date/Time
374NMONumber of Sample Containers
3860CEOYTransport Logistics of Collected Sample
39200CEOYCollector’s Comment
4060CEOTransport Arrangement Responsibility
4130IDOTransport Arranged
421IDOEscort Required
43200CEOYPlanned Patient Transport Comment

*Note: For the complete HL7 Standard, please go to the HL7 organization website.

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