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A8.1 Purpose

The purpose of this simplified REF profile is to enable widespread messaging by compliant implementations through reducing the requirements on implementers by specifying a smaller constrained subset of the patient referral message.

A8.2 Conformance

A8.2.1 Conformance Levels

This profile defines 2 levels of conformance.

A8.2.1.1 Referral Level 1

Level 1 focuses on baseline receiving capability of a single OBR observation group containing a PDF display segment. Receivers must to be able to display this PDF display segment. Senders must send a PDF display segment. There is no requirement on receivers to be able to display other display segment types if present. Atomic data may still be present. Attachments are not supported in Level 1.

A8.2.1.2 Referral Level 2

Level 2 allows for multiple OBR observation groups and guarantees receivers support all display segment types (HTML, PDF, RTF,  TXT (FT)).  Senders may choose which display segment formats to send but must send at least one. Attachments are supported in this level. 

A8.2.1.3 Referral Level 1 & 2 Common requirements

Note that both levels require that atomic data such as allergy/medication/patient history data can be received without error. The display segment(s) of level 1 and 2 are required to represent any atomic data. There is no requirement to process the atomic data for viewing by a user.

A8.2.2 Conformance Statements

Many of the conformance statements that apply to this profile also apply to other uses of the broader standard such as pathology messages such as ORU, so these stated in a common place.

Refer to Appendix 5 Conformance Statements (Normative) for a list of conformance statements that aren't referenced here. The table there indicates relevant points by "Referrals" in the Message Type Applicability column of the table.

In the following sections some of these conformance statements in Appendix 5 will be referenced simply by citing the HL7au: identifier for the conformance point, however, not every required point will be referenced in this section.

A8.3 Sender Conformance

Senders must signal conformance with these profile levels by populating MSH-12 Version ID field with the following components for all messages part of the profile:

Referral Level 2 conformance:

MSH-12 Version ID field content

Refer to HL7au:000040.4

Referral Level 1 conformance:

MSH-12 Version ID field content

A8.4 Receiver Conformance

Receivers may indicate conformance to the simplified REF profiles in a directory or communicated in out-of-band site to site agreement.

Identifiers derived from the following can be used


If a directory requires an identifier in the form of a URI then the following must be specified to indicate receiver conformance to this profile.

A8.4.1 Referral Level 1

For REF^I12 messages:

For RRI^I12 (referral response) messages:

A8.4.2 Referral Level 2

For REF^I12 messages:

For RRI^I12 (referral response) messages:

NOTE: The above are URI identifiers and may not necessarily resolve. Please see Australian Provider Directory Implementation Guide - Australian Endpoint Payload Types.

A8.5 Simplified REF profile message structure

For the purposes of compliance with this profile, the REF_I12 structure of chapter 7 is replaced with the following message structure.

Constrained REF_I12 message structure
MSH                                Message Header 
RF1                                Referral Information
{PRD}                              Provider Data
PID                                Patient Identification
[{AL1}]                            Allergy Information
	OBR                            Observation Request
	{OBX}                          Observation/Result
PV1                                Patient Visit
[PV2]                              Patient Visit Additional Info
    ORC                            Common Order 
    RXO                            Pharmacy/Treatment Order
    {RXR}                          Pharmacy/Treatment Route
    [{RXC}]                        Pharmacy/Treatment Component Order
    [{OBX}]                        Observation/Result


This profile uses the same RRI_I12 message structure as specified in Chapter 7 Patient Referral.


A8.6 Character Set

All receivers must support ASCII character. Refer to HL7au:00048.3.2.

Character set 8859/1 and UNICODE UTF8 are unsupported by this profile.


A8.7 Clinical Information

The referral message must contain one OBR/OBX group which is indicated as clinical information as per section OBR-4 codes in referral messages which is the main body of the referral. It must include one or more display segments formats which represent all atomic information. Refer to A8.8 Atomic Information. References to attachments must be included in the display segment.

As older referrals may be included, the current referral must appear as the first OBR/OBX group.

The OBR-24 Diagnostic serv sect ID (ID) (Section must be valued. Refer to HL7au:000032.2.

A8.7.1 Senders

Senders must place "PHY" into OBR-24 Diagnostic serv sect ID (ID) (Section

A8.7.2 Receivers

Where multiple inboxes are used in a receiving system, the value of OBR-24 must be used to direct the data to the appropriate inbox. Refer to HL7au:000032.3.

A8.8 Atomic information

A8.8.1 Receiver

Whenever atomic data is present a receiving system can just display the display segment, but must not fail to process a message containing atomic data.

A8.8.2 Sender

Unlike laboratory messages it is allowable for senders to include whatever atomic data is available. The display segment can include data items that are not present as atomic data.

Atomic information for the message will be allergies, medications and observations. If atomic medications are include they must be represented in the RXO segment groups. If the atomic allergy information is included, it must be represented in the AL1 segments. Observations which can be represented as part of the HL7v2 Virtual Medical Record (HL7v2 VMR) should use that structure to do so. Refer to Appendix 9 HL7v2 Virtual Medical Record (Normative) for instructions on how to use that. Further observations which cannot be represented in the structures already provided may use additional OBX observation segments inside the referral clinical information group but must not share the OBX-4 sub ID root with the HL7v2 VMR (i.e. They must not be "1" or start with "1." as this is reserved for the HL7v2 VMR) (Refer to 7.3.13 OBX and 4 Observation Reporting).

Atomic information should be supplied where available.

All atomic information must be redundant in the sense that it must also be represented within the display segments of the same OBR/OBX group.

Refer to HL7au:000008.2.1 and HL7au:000008.2.2.

A8.9 Display Segments

Display segments are defined in Section 7.5 Display Segments and 4.5 Display Segments.

Each OBR/OBX group must have at least one display segment.

For this profile, receivers must allow viewing the display segments for each OBR/OBX group. Refer to HL7au:00103.3.

Refer to the conformance points under HL7au:000008 that apply to referral messages.


Senders must send one or more display formats in the following form HTML, PDF, TXT (HL7 FT). HL7au:000008.3.1

Senders may send RTF is optional extra display format. HL7au:000008.1HL7au:000008.3.2

Receivers must be able to support the display of all display formats HL7au:000008.1.1. (Some may be viewed with an embedded viewer and external viewer, while others may be viewed with just an external viewer e.g. RTF).

A8.10 Supporting Observations or Performed Services.

The referral message may contain zero or more OBR/OBX groups which are other clinical/pathology/radiology reports as supporting information.

A8.10.1 Referral creators/senders

Referral creators must be provided an opportunity to select diagnostic items to include in the referral composition. The sender's system must copy from the selected items the original OBR/OBX segment groups and fields of the message (e.g. ORU) and include those in the REF message. It is important that the fields in these segments are preserved from the original sender, especially OBR-22 Results rpt/status chng (Refer to section

A8.10.2 Referral receivers

Receiving systems must display supporting information to the user along with the main body of the referral as well as file these appropriately into the correct area based on OBR-24 Diagnostic serv sect ID (ID) (Section value. 

Where receiving implementations have inbox categories such as "Pathology", "Radiology" and "Clinical"/"Other" in their systems, implementers must refer to HL7 Table 0074 - Diagnostic service section ID and direct data to these appropriate inboxes. Here is an example mapping for such a scenario (informative only).

An example mapping of HL7 Table 0074 - Diagnostic service section ID where a system might have bins for "Pathology" / "Radiology" and "Other" is provided below - This is Informative

Pathology / Radiology / Other
BGBlood GasesPathology
BLBBlood BankPathology
CUSCardiac UltrasoundRadiology
CTHCardiac CatheterizationOther
CTCAT ScanRadiology

Electrocardiac (e.g. ECG, EEC, Holter)

GE †GeneticsOther
ICUBedside ICU MonitoringOther

Regional laboratory (departments not distinguishable)

NMRNuclear Magnetic ResonanceRadiology
NMSNuclear Medicine ScanRadiology

Nursing Services Measures

OUSOB UltrasoundRadiology


Occupational TherapyOther
OSLOutside LabPathology
PTPhysical TherapyOther

Physician (Hx. Dx, admission note, etc)

PFPulmonary FunctionOther
RUSRadiology UltrasoundRadiology

Respiratory Care (therapy)

RTRadiation TherapyOther

Histology and Anatomical Pathology

VUSVascular UltrasoundRadiology

Refer to HL7au:000032.3.

A8.11 Encapsulated data attachments

Attachments may be attached to any OBR/OBX group and shown appropriately.

Refer to 4.26 Non-Displayable Supporting data and conformance points under HL7au:00101.

A8.12 Addressing

Refer to Appendix 10 Addressing messages using Australian Profile for Provider Directory Services (Normative).

A8.13 Referral Acknowledgement

Conforming receiving systems of patient referrals messages must respond by sending and referral acknowledgement message back to the original sender of the received patient referral. Refer to 7.2.2 Patient Referral Acknowledgement Message structure (RRI_I12).

See HL7au:00045.4

Senders must be capable of receiving and processing an RRI^I12 message. See HL7au:00045.5

Senders must publish their ability to receive a RRI in the provider directory. See HL7au:00045.6
Before sending a referral message, Secure Messaging agents must validate that there is a valid referral response RRI entry in the provider directory. See HL7au:00045.7

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