The National Cancer Screening Register, operated by Telstra Health on behalf of the Australian Government, has released an online portal for healthcare providers and integrated with the primary care practice management system, Best Practice, to enable access to patient bowel and cervical screening information.
“Our vision and strategy for improving lives through better connected healthcare has become a reality through the evolution of the National Cancer Screening Register,” said Professor Dorota Gertig, Medical Director of the National Cancer Screening Register.
“The National Cancer Screening Register has brought together cancer screening data from the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program and the eight previous state and territory-based cervical screening registers. The new portal and clinical software integration will enable medical practioners to more easily access the information they need to support their patients, in real time from their desktop. This will help to create a more efificient process for both patients and providers.”
The new digital channels offer functional improvements that will enable healthcare providers to access information online, in a self-service capacity to actively manage their patients screening pathways. They will enable:
- Healthcare providers to manage their patient’s participation in the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) and National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP), including ordering replacement free bowel screening test kits to their patient’s address, deferring their screening to a more suitable time, and opting out.
- Healthcare providers and pathologists to access screening information for participants of both the NCSP and NBCSP.
- General practitioners and other specialists to lodge clinical forms relating to both programs electronically, removing the need to print, scan and fax to the National Cancer Screening Register.
Professor Gertig added, “This is a significant step forward for Telstra Health and the National Cancer Screening Register; the improved access, capability and integration of the National Cancer Screening Register with the wider health system is expected to maximise participation in the cancer screening programs and encourage improved health outcomes through early detection and treatment of screen-detected abnormalities.
“Our Contact Centre team takes an average of 8,000 calls per week from healthcare providers and pathologists. They can now access the portal to retrieve patient data at any time that is convenient for providers and employees.”
In May 2016, the Australian Government awarded a contract to Telstra Health to implement and operate a National Cancer Screening Register, with a focus on supporting the Commonwealth’s cervical and bowel cancer screening programs.
It is the first digital health system in Australia to comprehensively link all relevant population screening stakeholders: Commonwealth and state health authorities, GPs, specialists, public and private pathology services, and the participant.
“A fundamental element of organised population-based cancer screening programs are registers that support the programs by inviting, reminding and following up participants for screening, as well as generating comprehensive data to inform policy and improve quality,” said Professor Gertig.
“Previously, there had been independent cervical registers for each state and territory, and a separate single National Register for the bowel program. The implementation of the National Cancer Screening Register means there is now one record per participant of these screening programs, ensuring that information is more accessible to providers.”
In the coming months, a portal for participants will also be released which will enable Australians to manage their participation in both screening programs via myGov.