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Patients across SA, Victoria and Southern NSW can now utilise a private pathology provider that uploads their test results to the My Health Record database.

The new development comes after SDS Pathology, who operates the Dorevitch Pathology Collection Centres in Victoria and the Albury region of NSW, and the Abbott Pathology Collection Centres in SA, said they had made the decision to upload results to the federally administered health record storage system.

Four-hundred and ninety pathology centres across the three geographical areas will be affected by the move, with results from tests conducted by the Genomic Diagnostics agency on behalf of the announced SDS pathology centres also to be uploaded.

Stephen Mason, the CEO of the Australian Patient’s Association, described the SDS decision as “a great step forward for patients.”

“Our members welcome access to more diagnostic information… Access to reports from Australia’s large laboratory networks will make a real difference in building trust between patients and clinicians,” he added.

Amanda Cattermole, the CEO of the federal government’s Australian Digital Health Agency,  said patients across Australia were already taking advantage of the My Health Record system.

“There are already more than 68 million pathology reports uploaded to the My Health Record system where they are safely and securely available for healthcare providers and patients to access them, and in October alone patients looked at nearly 180,000 of these pathology reports,” she said.

Ms Cattermole also stressed the importance of patients continuing and needing to get tested for ailments in the wake of a decline throughout 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and facing social distancing requirements and lockdowns, the pathology sector saw a 40% drop in testing with more than 60,000 Australians a day not getting tests vital to their healthcare.

“These drops in engagement could have serious risks for people’s long-term health. While pathology tests numbers are returning to pre-pandemic levels, people who missed tests are encouraged to see their GP.”

The My Health Record system was originally launched as the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) by the federal government in 2012, before being relaunched in March 2016.

A database designed so patients and providers can securely access health records, as of October 2020 there are now 22.85 million My Health Records held online, with 2.38 billion documents contained within the database.