Normal range/reference ranges for text data type

Ian McNicoll ian at
Wed Sep 28 08:23:00 EDT 2016

Hi Silje,

This seems a bit odd to me. Do labs normally

If a result is expressed as normal/ abnormal or high/normal/low,
surely the 'normalcy range' is self-defining.

If there is a need for the lab to assert some kind of textual normalcy
rangeThe 'reference range guidance' element  in the Lab panel
archetype is intended for this purpose and essentially equates to
referenceRange/text in the FHIR Observation.


Does that work?

Dr Ian McNicoll
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Co-Chair, openEHR Foundation ian.mcnicoll at
Director, freshEHR Clinical Informatics Ltd.
Director, HANDIHealth CIC
Hon. Senior Research Associate, CHIME, UCL

On 28 September 2016 at 12:56, Karsten Hilbert <Karsten.Hilbert at> wrote:
> On Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 11:27:18AM +0000, Bakke, Silje Ljosland wrote:
>> We're working on requirements for labs results, and have
>> bumped into a potential problem. Some results are
>> textual/non-quantitative in nature, for example
>> "positive/negative", "+/++/+++",
>> "negative/borderline/positive". These results also need a
>> kind of "normal range" for the receiving system to be able to
>> mark or emphasise it in the UI. The text data type however
>> doesn't have any normal range/reference ranges attributes in
>> the reference model like the quantity, count and ordinal data
>> types do. We can't have several different places where the
>> normality information is kept for different data types, as
>> this would be very complex to handle. How should this be
>> handled?
> Often, the lab will provide a field denoting in-rangeness of
> such results. Other than that, a human on the receiving side
> may have to manually set the property when reviewing /
> paraphing the result.
> Some programmatic smarts can be added to applications to
> auto-set the property to "not-any-known-normal" where
> "known-normal" consists of a suitably restricted regular
> expression defined per test type.
> Karsten
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