Pathology tests generally involve the following steps:
- Clinician orders* test(s).
- The order is received by a pathology service provider
- Specimen is collected
- The pathology service provider tests the specimen
- Test result is returned to the relevant clinician(s)
* Some say “order”, others use “request”, and “referral” is also used. For the sake of consistency, this article uses “order”.
The communication of the pathology order and the results can be done using a variety of methods: paper, fax, phone, and digital transmission. The method, or methods, used depend on a variety of conditions: Medicare requirements, privacy controls, available technology, and patient/provider preferences.
Due to the benefits, and improvements in technology, digital systems are becoming the preferred choice.
Electronic ordering of pathology (also referred to as eOrders) is the process of electronically transferring the data from the ordering site to the pathology provider:
In the Australian primary care setting, electronic ordering is currently constrained, because Medicare pathology providers still require an accompanying pathology order form (digital or hardcopy), even if electronic ordering was used. Despite this, electronic ordering has significant benefits to both patients and healthcare providers:
- Reduces the risk of transcription errors.
- Increases the amount of useful clinical and patient history information to aid diagnosis by pathologist.
- Test results are available on My Health Record for all clinicians involved to access.
- Improved processing time.
- Reduction in unnecessary repeats or delay of investigations due to missing or incorrect data.
- Reduction in calls to practices from patients for copies of results.
- Improved waiting room throughput for practices with co-located pathology sites.
- Reduction in duplication of tests by different healthcare providers.
- *Time saving for practice - track and receive results in real-time reducing the need for staff to follow up.
- *Reduce risk - track request, see when specimen has reached lab and if patient has had specimen collected.
- *Supports easier telehealth consultations with automated emailing of test orders to patients.
* Might vary depending on functionality available within the specific e-ordering platform and some variation within different clinical software.
How do you set up electronic ordering?
Contact your pathology provider to arrange set up.
Not all pathology providers offer electronic ordering functionality. These pathology providers currently offer electronic ordering capability with the specified clinical software.
|Electronic ordering of pathology requests||Compatible software||With additional telehealth email functionality|
|Best Practice||Medical Director||Medtech 32||Zedmed|
|Australian Clinical Labs||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes (MD only)|
|Melbourne Pathology Service||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|