Seven-day MHR delay: DoHAC remains ‘committed to collaboration’

3 minute read

The 2024 deadline has disappeared and in its place is a clinical reference group, with no stated timeline for change. Fun and games.

The Department of Health and Aged Care has confirmed that it has not scrapped its plan to remove the seven-day delay between the availability of pathology tests and upload into a patient’s My Health Record. 

However, the department refused to be pinned down about a timeframe for the policy change. 

Our sister publication Health Services Daily reported that the DoHAC had updated its webpage on modernising the MHR to remove any mention of the 2024 deadlines set when the policy was first announced back in September 2023. 

In a series of responses, the department said it had not yet scrapped the seven-day delay but remained committed to a “collaborative” consultation process. 

“The Australian Digital Health Agency, as the MHR system operator, has established a clinical reference group to provide clinical safety and quality advice on any future changes to the current seven-day consumer access delay policy. The seven-day delay has not been scrapped,” a DoHAC spokesperson told HSD

“The removal of the wording [on the webpage] had no relationship to the current work to consider the existing seven-day consumer access delay policy.” 

No decision had been made regarding the timing of the removal of the existing seven-day consumer access delay policy, the spokesperson said. 

“Consultation is ongoing with guidance from the CRG,” he said. 

“The CRG was established by the [ADHA], in consultation with the department, to provide advice to help inform the introduction of the new policy ensuring that it is clinically appropriate and safe. 

“The CRG comprises 24 clinical and consumer members with broad experience in accessing or providing pathology and diagnostic imaging services. 

“Any changes to the existing seven-day consumer access delay policy will be made following the finalisation and implementation of the legislative requirements to mandate the uploading of pathology and diagnostic imaging reports.” 

When asked if the DoHAC remained committed to the scrapping of the seven-day delay, the spokesperson could only say that the department “remains committed to working collaboratively with the Agency, as well as the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, peaks [peak bodies] and partners (including the RACGP and the AMA), as well as consumers to ensure that appropriate clinical quality and safety guidelines are in place”. 

“This approach will support the safe and effective operation of the MHR system including ensuring consumers have faster access to their important health information where there is no safety and quality reasons to delay providing results,” said the department spokesperson. 

In other words, gone are the 2024 deadlines touted in September, and instead there is an apparently open-ended consultative process. 

Watch this space. 

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