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Telstra Wins Right to Manage Cancer Screening Records

Tuesday, 31 May 2016


Data privacy concerns raised.

Telstra has struck a landmark deal with the Department of Health to build and run a $178 million national cancer screening register.

The telco’s Telstra Health business unit will oversee the register, which is the result of a Budget 2015-16 measure by the former Abbott-led Coalition government.

The new national register is expected to be operational from May 1, 2017. Telstra’s contact is for five years.

It is designed to provide a “single view” for the 11 million-plus Australians screened for one or more types of cancer.

Existing registers for bowel and cervical cancer screening will be uplifted and folded into the new national register.

“Currently there are eight separate state and territory cervical screening registers and an outdated, paper-based, bowel screening register which has created a fragmented system,” Health Minister Sussan Ley said last year.

“It can be difficult to keep track of your screening requirements, which is why we are investing in the creation of a single national screening register for cancers to ensure all Australians can remain up to date.”

“Cancer screening saves lives but it can be hard for people to remember when their screens are due, meaning they often don’t start or keep up with regular screening,” Telstra’s group executive for international and new businesses Cynthia Whelan said.

“The register will overcome the dislocation or duplication of information that can arise when people switch medical providers or move between states. 

“This is when people are at risk of slipping between the gaps.”

Whelan said that Telstra will deliver an “end-to-end solution that integrates cancer screening records held by the Australian and State and Territory governments, by general practices, pathology providers and other private and public health providers.”

“We will also provide a contact centre to assist medical practitioners and patients and a mail house to manage invitations for people to undertake screening,” she said.

Whelan said that “people will be able to access their records online and with patient consent general practitioners and medical specialists will have access to patient data and records from any state or territory from their clinical desktops.”

The new national register will support existing bowel and cervical cancer screening programs, and “provide a template for any future national population screening tests”.

The register will require Telstra to link into other government agencies and e-health systems “such as My Health Record and Medicare, and private health providers.”

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