HealthCare EDI Delimiters

A delimiter is simply a sequence of one or more characters used to separate two text strings. For EDI, a delimiter is a single character used to separate two data elements or to terminate a segment. We'll only be discussing EDI delimiters as it pertains to HealthCare transactions.

There are typically 3-4 delimiters used in HealthCare EDI transactions depending on the standard. For illustration purposes, here are some delimiter examples for HealthCare EDI transactions.

Delimiter Set Example

CharacterNameDelimiterLocation
*AsteriskData Element SeparatorISA - position 4
^CaratRepetition SeparatorISA11 - position 83
:ColonComponent Element SeparatorISA - position 105
~TildeSegment TerminatorISA - position 106

What Delimiters should you use?

The choice is yours in many cases but check with your Trading Partner first, as they may have predefined delimiters that you will need to use. Interestingly, many EDI processing systems examine the ISA (interchange header segment) segment to determine which characters are being used as delimiters and then use those for the particular transaction. Please reference the table above for the exact ISA delimiter positions.

Sample ISA - Delimiter positions highlighted in green

  • ISA*00*          *00*          *ZZ*SENDERID       *ZZ*RECEIVERID     *181004*1800*^*00501*000622341*1*P*:~