Melbourne Pathology’s use of ‘My Health Record’ to store patient test results

Melbourne Pathology has commenced uploading pathology results to the ‘My Health Record’ system. The process was recently established by Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology, a subsidiary of Sonic Healthcare.

By using this new method of patient record collection, general practitioners can electronically order a test, which substantially reduces patient waiting times, and increases the likelihood of medical practitioners delivering quality patient care in a more efficient manner. Further, full results will be uploaded in the individual patient’s ‘My Health Record’ and the patient can, for their own benefit, view the same after seven days.

If a doctor needs the patient to run a pathology test, all they need to do is send a request electronically. The patient in turn can visit the lab with a paper copy of the request. The lab will have a ready reference of the request, as entered by the doctor in the electronic request. Since there is no human data entry available, the risk of patients receiving incorrect tests is greatly mitigated.

According to Nathan Pinskier, a Melbourne based general practitioner, the process is comprehensive and flawless. The system not only assists doctors in ordering relevant patient test results, but also makes the results of that test easily available, with automatic and seamless uploading to ‘My Health Record’.

After the report is generated through the system, the doctor who has requested it receives a copy through their secure messaging software and the patient gets access to their report via their ‘My Health Record’. This way, the reports are not misplaced, and other healthcare providers can access them in future for review including after-hours doctors.

Melbourne Pathology is not the only public healthcare provider connected to the system. Alfred Health, Monash Health and VCS Pathology are other public health providers that have also registered to use the system. Currently, more than 32 million pathology results have been uploaded to the system. To date, an estimated 43% of Australian pathology and diagnostic imaging providers have already connected to the system, in order to provide better patient care and services.

Healthcare practitioners, collectively, must be aware that uploading to the ‘My Health Record’ system should be guided by whether that information will be of benefit to other healthcare providers and the individual patient themselves, in future.  The ‘My Health Record’ system must not, under any circumstances, be used for practicing or experimenting.

It is important to note that, if a patient has not opted for a ‘My Health Record’, then a medical practitioner will not be able to access the requested and potentially relevant record.  In such instances, it is prudent for medical practitioners to include their patients in conversations regarding their medical records, as this provides a valuable opportunity for patients to review their own health summary where they will, more often than not, advise of any changes to their medications and current treatments, leading to improved data quality and clinical safety.

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