Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

NSW government to deliver COVID-19 test results via SMS

Automated results would be delivered within six hours of testing.

NSW government to deliver COVID-19 test results via SMS

The New South Wales government has announced patients can opt to receive their COVID-19 pathology results via text message.

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The SMS notification system, developed alongside Amazon Web Services, Deloitte Australia, and Microsoft, will only be available to patients who are tested at a NSW public hospital or Fever Clinic. 

"We are able to test 5,000 patients per day, and while testing for COVID-19 only takes 6 to 8 hours from arrival of the sample at one of our specialist labs, the sheer volume has meant we haven't been able to get results to patients quickly," said NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
 
"Using our new state-wide SMS notification solution, patients who register will receive an automated SMS test result within six hours of the completion of the laboratory test."

The NSW government also assured that the SMS notification system would be integrated with "existing state-wide security and other support infrastructure to ensure patient privacy and data integrity is maintained".  

Following pilots in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health Districts, and Wollongong, Shellharbour, and Shoalhaven Fever Clinics, the state government said the SMS notification system would be rolled out across the state in coming weeks.

To date, more than 142,000 people in NSW have been tested and cleared of the novel coronavirus.

NSW government added the Service NSW app would be getting an upgrade, touting that it would be used to provide customers with real-time updates on COVID-19 along with more personalised health and non-health advice.

It follows in the footsteps of the federal government launching a new app and WhatsApp chat feature at the end of last month to help Australians keep up to date on messaging coming out of Canberra on the COVID-19 outbreak.

During the launch of the app, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it provides information and resources, labelling it a "trusted place of advice and information that you and your family and your business can use to understand the decisions and the information that is available to everybody about what is occurring with the coronavirus."  

The federal government is also using text message to inform nearly 36 million mobile numbers how to navigate the health of individuals and the broader community.  

Meanwhile, it was announced last week that preparations are underway to enable Australians to access electronic prescriptions by the end of next month.  

The fast-tracked solution would see a unique QR barcode token sent via an app, SMS, or email to the patient. The move is aimed at getting more people treated for general health issues.

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