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newborn screening program (nbs)

Online Specimen Tracking (OST)

What is OST?

OST is a regulatory requirement (17 CCR § 6506) that helps ensure all babies born in California have the best possible start in life. OST is accessed via the California Department of Public Health Screening Information System (SIS).


Hospitals and midwives (facilities) are required to access SIS within 7 days of life to verify that newborn screening specimens are received by a California Newborn Screening Program laboratory. If a specimen has not been received, it is reported as a missing specimen and an investigation is conducted to locate the specimen.   

Why should you use OST?

  • Ensure all newborns have been tested for genetic disorders and that no baby has been missed. A daily reconciling of the facility census or admission report against the specimen list in OST allows facilities to track their newborn specimens and report missing specimens in a timely manner.
  • Help prevent Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act - HIPAA violations. Facilities can prevent HIPAA violations by using OST to report specimens that were not collected at their facility. This prevents the child’s results and personal information from being sent to the wrong facility in error.
  • Ensure proper billing. Facilities use OST to report specimens that were not collected at their facility, which will prevent the facility from being billed for specimens that they did not collect.
  • Request a duplicate newborn screening result mailer. Facilities can use OST to request duplicate Newborn Screening mailers. 

Contact NBSOST@cdph.ca.gov for inquiries, including to request a SIS account or to schedule an OST training session.

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