Doctors can now share patients’ pathology reports on My Health Record

Jun 8, 2017

From April 2017, pathology reports can be uploaded to the My Health Record, allowing health care professionals to access pathology results immediately and patients to access them after seven days.

The move follows a successful collaboration between the Australian Digital Health Agency, eHealth NSW and NSW Health Pathology.

Avant was involved in a series of workshops in 2014 that resulted in a proposed model for sharing pathology results on the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR), now known as the My Health Record. We also made a submission to the Department of Health’s ‘Consultation Papers: Pathology and the PCEHR System and Diagnostic Imaging and the PCEHR System’ and attended the consultation workshops to ensure the e-health system adequately addressed issues around doctors’ medico-legal risk.

Georgie Haysom, Avant’s Head of Advocacy, said Avant supported the introduction of pathology report upload to the My Health Record. “Doctors will be able to access a pathology report immediately when it is uploaded to the My Health Record, however the patient will only be able to view the pathology report seven days after it is uploaded.This will allow the doctor to review the report and discuss it with the patient, if necessary, before the patient can see it.”

“GPs will also be able to access their patient’s results in circumstances where they did not initiate the request and patients can also share test results with other health professionals,” she said. “When a patient signs up for a My Health Record they provide a standing consent for all pathology and diagnostic imaging reports to be uploaded,” Ms Haysom said. “This consent extends to a pathology laboratory uploading pathology reports to their My Health Record. However if you think the results of a pathology test may be sensitive or you or the patient do not want a report uploaded this needs to be specified on the request form.”

Key points:

  • There will be a seven day delay before consumers can view their reports to enable appropriate communication of results to the patient by the healthcare provider responsible for follow up care, wherever possible;
  • The inclusion of pathology reports does not replace existing communication of pathology reports between laboratories and doctors or consumers;
  • Reports will be uploaded directly by the pathology laboratory to the My Health Record;
  • Clinicians will be able to access the information as soon as it is uploaded to the My Health Record;
  • Consumers will have the opportunity to request that certain reports not be uploaded to their My Health Record and can restrict those who can see their test results or hide them from view; and
  • Some results will not be uploaded to the My Health Record if state or territory legislation or policy prevents this.

When pathology reports won’t be uploaded

The pathology laboratory will not upload a report to the My Health Record where:

  • the patient/consumer or requestor has requested the information not be uploaded, or
  • the provider believes that the information should not be uploaded – for example, the information is particularly sensitive such as STIs, or
  • State or territory legislation prohibits the disclosure of sensitive information (for example, AIDS or HIV status) without the express consent of the individual.

When and where

Pathology tests carried out at South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District and The Children’s Hospital at Randwick will be the first to be shared with patients signed up to My Health Record.

Other locations in NSW will be progressively going live over the coming months with work also commencing in the Northern Territory, Tasmania, ACT and Queensland.

Contact your Primary Health Network to obtain the latest information regarding which pathology laboratories in your region are uploading to the My Health Record.

More information

Download the Australian Digital Health Agency’s ‘GP Pathology Factsheet’ for more information on viewing a patient’s pathology report in My Health Record or the 'Consumer Pathology Factsheet.'

For more information or help, call the Australian Digital Health Agency’s Help Centre on 1300 901 001, 8am – 6pm Monday to Friday or email help@digitalhealth.gov.au  

Share your view

We welcome your feedback on this article – email the Editor at: editor@avant.org.au