Bi-directional communication means that an analyser can receive data as well as send data. Not all analyser are able to communicate bi-directionally. Many protocols will not support bi-directional communication – they are mono-directional protocols only. To complicate matters further, many analysers will support several different communication protocols of which only one could be a bi-directional protocol.

Bi-directional communication is much more complicated than mono or uni-directional communication. We would advise that an analyser is interfaced initially using mono-directional communication and only when this is working correctly should bi-directional communication be attempted.

 Sending-Operators-02We need to ensure that the analyser will support bi-directional communication and that we have selected a protocol that the analyser supports which also supports bi-directional communication.

LabComm can receive HL7 messages from a HIS or a LIMS and convert them in the correct protocol for the selected laboratory analyser.

The messages can be sent from the LIMS to the analyser in the form of files or as TCP/IP sockets.

The messages sent to the analyser can be sent either as orders or queries for results. Once the results are available, they will be delivered back to the host system. Results associated with queries received are delivered in the form of responses to queries, or ORF^R04 messages, while results not related to a queries are delivered as ORU^R01 messages. The period of time during which a query is valid, and which results in an ORF message, is configurable.

Not all laboratory analysers support queries. LabComm can also be used to serve the LIMS that wants to receive the laboratory results by querying. LabComm then receives the data from the analysers as they arrive, converts them to HL7 ORF messages, and when the LIMS eventually issues the query, returns them is response.

To configure queries, the first thing is to decide if the query should go to the analyser, which of course is possible only if the analyser supports queries. If so, the setting SupportsQueries=Yes shall be configured. LabComm will check the destination address of the query message from the host., in the MSH-6 field. If it equals the analyser’s DeviceName, and this analyser has SupportsQueries=Yes, LabComm will direct the query to this analyser. An example of such query is as follows (assuming there is an analyser with setting DeviceName= LabScan_2):

MSH|^~\&|LIMS|Heamo Lab|LabComm | LabScan_2|20080225113213||QRY^R02|12345|P^|2.3|||SU|NE
QRD|20080225112613|R|I|Q1234|||20^RD|P-000

If, on the other hand, the analyser does not support queries, or , for any reason, the queries are to be served from the database, the analyser should be configured with SupportsQueries=No. The host LIMS should then, instead of the analyser, address such queries to “IFP”. An example of a query in this case is as follows:

MSH|^~\&|LIMS|Heamo Lab| LabComm |IFP|20080225113213||QRY^R02|12345|P^|2.3|||SU|NE
QRD|20080225112613|R|I|Q1234|||20^RD|P-000