After many years of complaints from GPs about the problems associated with paper based reporting, the North Coast BreastScreen Service is to trial an electronic system.

According to Nick Astone, Patient Clinical Information Manager for BreastScreen NSW North Coast, the next version of their information system will contain a GP electronic messaging facility.

Faster processing of abnormal and equivocal reports will reduce both the psychological and physical morbidity of breast screening and will be welcomed by patients and GPs alike.

Currently there are 12 practices in the Hunter region undertaking a pre-release pilot that is testing the workflow issues of the electronic format. Next year the new software will be trialled and practices on the North Coast are eligible to participate. A web portal is being developed to facilitate the recruitment of practices for the beta release. 

The BreastScreen reports will be delivered to practices through their existing secure messaging providers, Medical Objects and Healthlink and will be in digital not graphic format.

Providing the pilot is successful, it is anticipated that the electronic reporting facility will be rolled out to the rest of the State in late 2018.

A similar streamlining of bowel cancer screening reporting is currently underway on the North Coast with an increasing number of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program reports being delivered electronically. 

Setting up systems for the electronic exchange of patient information has been a slow and painful process but general practice welcomes the progress that is being made in these important areas of cancer screening.