The National Cancer Screening Register (National Register) is releasing a Healthcare Provider Portal which will enable healthcare providers to access and submit bowel and cervical screening data electronically in a self-service fashion.

The initial release date of the Portal was early April 2020. Due to factors relating to COVID-19 and the high burden on the sector, a decision was made to delay the release of the portal to a more appropriate time outside of the current period of high activity for the healthcare provider sector.

The National Register has worked closely with healthcare providers during the design and build stages of the Portal which will be released to a pre selected group of users in August. Following the success of this initial release, the portal will be released and accessible by all healthcare providers.

Functions and benefits

Currently, healthcare providers call the National Register, or the relevant pathology laboratory, to request patient information relating to bowel and cervical screening.

The Healthcare Provider Portal, accessed via PRODA (Provider Digital Access), will enable healthcare providers to complete a range of activities online, including:

  1. Accessing your patient’s bowel and cervical screening results and histories online, in real-time: The portal will allow you to interact with the National Register, at a time convenient for you, your practice and your staff. As well as saving you the time previously spent calling the National Register or multiple laboratories to retrieve your patient’s data.
  2. Submitting forms electronically: Electronic forms will be pre-filled with healthcare provider information, and will remove the need to print/scan and fax to the National Register.
  3. Managing your patient’s participation: This includes the ability to opt out, defer their next screening, nominate a healthcare provider and personal representative on behalf of your patient, from either program. 
  4. Ordering an iFOBT kit: You will be able to order a free bowel test kit directly to your patients’ address.

How is the portal accessed?

Healthcare providers and pathologists will be required to authenticate themselves through the creation of a PRODA account either by using their Medicare Provider Number or requesting to be a delegate of a provider, to then login to the National Register web-based portal.

PRODA (or Provider Digital Access) is an online identity verification and authentication system used to enable secure access to government online services.

Engagement and design validation:

We engaged with a range of general practitioners, specialists, nurses, pathologists, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers, and support/administrative staff to assist in design validation sessions held in metropolitan, regional and rural settings in November and December 2019.

These sessions helped us to better understand the way our intended users work, provided insight into how they wanted to interact with the National Register, and assisted in the design and usability testing of the portal.

What else is coming in 2020?

Integration with Clinical Information Systems:

The introduction of software integration will allow general practitioners and other specialists using Best Practice and Medical Director to report clinical data seamlessly from their existing clinical information systems using electronic forms.

They will also be able to access a patient’s screening results and histories for both cervical and bowel screening, and request Bowel Program Test Kits for eligible participants. The introduction of software integration will further streamline reporting and help to improve data quality for the two programs.

Participant Portal:

Previously, participants of the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) and National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) interacted with the National Cancer Screening Register by either calling the Contact Centre on 1800 627 701 or submitting a webform.

While these channels will remain open, in late 2020, a new self-service Participant Portal, accessed via MyGov, will allow participants to manage their participant in these screening programs.