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Australian pathology services are provided by public and private laboratories and provide the foundations on which much of the science of medicine is based.

Pathology in the Australian context

Private laboratories are majority funded by the Australian Government via a fee-for-service basis with the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). Public laboratories operating within public hospitals are mainly funded by the state government’s public hospital funding allocation, however hospitals also access MBS where possible.

It has been estimated that pathology investigations feature in up to 70 per cent of medical diagnoses. In Australia, over half of all Australians have a pathology test each year and there are currently about 34 million pathology requests and 100 million pathology reports produced annually. Half of all pathology tests are undertaken on 7 per cent of patients. We can assume that most testing is performed for those with chronic disease.

A number of these pathology tests require multiple reports for different test types and multiple copies are distributed to clinicians. The Pathology Funding Agreement aims to constrain the increase in pathology costs to approximately 5 per cent per annum.

Context in digital health

There are a number of key business flows that occur within digital health in Australia, as outlined in Figure 1 below.

Digital health business flows for pathology

Figure 1: Digital health business flows for pathology

These flows are described below:

1. A requesting clinician sends a referral (frequently in paper form given to the consumer) to the pathology provider. This form (electronic or paper) provides consent and identify information for future use when accessingMy Health Record.

2. The pathology provider will provide the report (and any subsequent updates) to the requesting clinician and any other listed recipient on the request.

2a. Electronic pathology reports can be used to share information about pathology tests via an individual's digital health record. The Pathology Report PDF may contain one or more tests that are uploaded by the pathology provider to the individual's digital health record.

3. Clinicians can retrieve the pathology reports from My Health Record using either their clinical information system or the national provider portal. Results are available in this way as soon as they have been loaded to My Health Record.

4. Consumers can view their pathology reports on My Health Record after 7 days after their test. This delay allows the requesting clinician to review the results and determine if further clinical counselling is required.

 

Feature specifications

Communicating a Request Not to Upload a Pathology or Diagnostic Imaging Report to the My Health Record System Implementation Guide

This guide explains how a requesting clinician can communicate to a pathology or diagnostic imaging provider that they should not upload a report to the patient’s My Health Record.

The intended audience includes developers and vendors of digital health systems that generate pathology and/or diagnostic imaging requests.

Learn more: Communicating a Request Not to Upload a Pathology or Diagnostic Imaging Report to the My Health Record System Implementation Guide

eHealth Pathology Report v1.2.2

EP-2558:2017

eHealth pathology reports can be used to share information about pathology tests via an individual's digital health record. The Pathology Report PDF may contain one or more tests that are uploaded by the pathology provider to the individual's digital health record.

Thursday, 21 Dec 2017

Related specifications

Roadmap

Roadmap: 
January, 2022
Incomplete
By 2022 consistent terminologies will enable faster access to information and the opportunity for clinical information systems that request diagnostic tests to leverage these standard terms, to support automated decision support and reduce unnecessary duplicate testing.
January, 2018
Completed
The Pathology Report specification was first released (v1.30) in 2014. It has subsequently been updated twice: v1.1 was released in July 2015 and v1.2 was released in March 2016. Conformance profiles were updated in June 2017 (v1.2.1).
January, 2017
Completed
The specifications for views within the national portals were first released in late 2014 (v1.0), with an update to the specification release in July 2017 (v1.1). The Agency announced in May 2017 that Sonic Healthcare would be the first private pathology provider to trial uploading pathology reports to My Health Record.
June, 2016
Completed
The eHealth Diagnostic Imaging Report end product provides updates to the eHealth Pathology Report Template Package Library and a new eHealth Pathology Report Conformance Test Specification.
March, 2016
Completed
This release of the eHealth Pathology Report ends product updates to the My Health Record conformance profile and Template Package Library. The consent management section of the conformance profile.
July, 2015
Completed
This release of the eHealth Pathology Report ends product updates to the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) conformance profile and associated updates to the Template Package Library.
December, 2014
Incomplete
This was the first release of the eHealth Pathology Report specifications. The eHealth Pathology Report specification set (end product) provides an enhancement to the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system. It includes a CDA document containing a pathology report that can be uploaded to the PCEHR system.