A majority of Australian public pathology labs now uploading results to My Health Record

Australian Digital Health Agency says nearly 43 million pathology reports have been uploaded to system.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) has announced all public pathology test results in New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia are now accessible by patients and clinicians via the My Health Record (MHR) system.

The results are immediately available in the system to healthcare providers, according to the ADHA, while patients are only able to review the results seven days after the report is uploaded.

"This gives healthcare providers time to review the report and contact their patient to discuss the results if needed," said the ADHA, which oversees the MHR system.

The ADHA also revealed nearly 43 million pathology reports have been uploaded to the MHR, with more than 3.8 million reports uploaded in March, an 11% month on month increase from February.

"More patients are using My Health Record to see their pathology results with 140,000 people doing so in March. That's a 76% increase from February," ADHA interim CEO Bettina McMahon said.  

The latest upload figures is a jump from last September when ADHA highlighted it received over 850,000 diagnostic reports each week that have been uploaded to MHR. 

The ADHA added it is working to complete connections of public pathology test results in the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria, as well as working with private pathology labs to enable them to send results to the MHR.

As of 27 April 2020, there were 111 diagnostic imaging and pathology providers nationwide that upload pathology reports and diagnostic imaging reports to the MHR.

In its annual report, the ADHA revealed a handful of occurrences where the privacy of users of the contentious medical records system was compromised.

The report revealed there were 38 matters reported to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) during the year concerning potential unauthorised access, security, or integrity breaches.

Three involved the unauthorised access to an individual's My Health Record. One of the unauthorised access incidents was the result of the incorrect parent being assigned to a child.

Separately on Friday, the Queensland government announced prescriptions are going digital for Queenslanders.

"Digital image scripts will allow Queenslanders to visit their usual pharmacy or get medications delivered to their home. This helps to ensure we can keep our community safer particularly those more likely to develop a severe coronavirus infection," Queensland Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Steven Miles said.

"These patients will now have their prescription flow handled by modern technology as the old-school fax and follow-up between doctors and pharmacies is replaced by digital copies of prescriptions sent by a choice of modern communication streams." 

Miles said the change brings Queensland into line with recent federal government arrangements to enable the supply of medicine available on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme (PBS) through a digital image.

Although digital prescriptions are available, existing prescription processes will continue to exist, Miles said.

The Queensland government added it is also looking to make legislative changes that will enable prescribers to send digital prescriptions directly to pharmacists.

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