Advisory PA22/02: Structured reporting of COVID-19 text message results

To clarify the expected requirements (data elements) for structured reporting of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results to consumers via text message.

Advisory details

Item Details
Advisory number PA22/02
Version number 1.0
Trim number D22-1615
Publication date 22 March 2022
Replaces Not applicable
Compliance with this advisory It is mandatory for National Pathology Accreditation Scheme accrediting agencies and pathology laboratories and service providers
Information in this advisory applies to

All approved pathology accrediting agencies

Pathology laboratories and service providers seeking accreditation to the National Pathology Accreditation Advisory Council (NPAAC) pathology standards under the National Pathology Accreditation Scheme

Key relationship Requirements for medical pathology services (Third Edition 2018)
Attachment Nil
Notes Not applicable
Responsible officer

Margaret Banks
Director, National Standards
Phone: 1800 304 056
Email: AdviceCentre@safetyandquality.gov.au

To be reviewed March 2023

Purpose

To clarify the expected requirements (data elements) for structured reporting of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results to consumers via text message.

Issue

State and territory health departments have set out a number of public health initiatives on the prompt reporting of COVID-19 PCR test results in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. This includes using text messaging services to communicate these results to consumers.

Pathology laboratories in the health system continue to work closely with state and territory governments to support and implement these initiatives.

The reporting of COVID-19 PCR test results via text message has become routine across Australia. However, guidance on the structure of the reporting varies between states and territories and public and private pathology laboratories.

This may be due to:

  • variabilities in information and communications technology infrastructure
  • concerns about maintaining security and privacy of consumers
  • workforce capability and capacity limitations
  • the rapidly evolving nature of jurisdictional priorities and strategies.

NPAAC’s Requirements for medical pathology services (Third Edition 2018) sets out the expected data elements for recording and structured reporting of pathology tests. The expected data elements have been adapted for the use of text messaging to report COVID-19 PCR test results to consumers.

All pathology laboratories and service providers are responsible for ensuring systems and processes are in place to meet the expected data elements for structured reporting of COVID-19 PCR test results via text message, including maintaining the security of these services and the privacy of consumers.

Requirements

From 4 April 2022, the expected data elements for structured reporting of COVID-19 PCR test results are:

Data element Expected content
Patient demographic data

First name

Date of birth

Mobile phone number {As indicated by the number provided to the pathology laboratory from the consumer}

Sample collection date and time {Required by the pathology laboratory}
Validated result data

Standardised test name – for example, COVID-19 virus or SARS-CoV-2

Sample result – POSITIVE or NEGATIVE

Identity of the pathology laboratory issuing the report {Required by the pathology laboratory}
Unique testing identifier number for traceability {Required by the pathology laboratory}
Comments from the pathology laboratory {Required by the pathology laboratory}
Contact number of pathology laboratory sending the text message {Required by the pathology laboratory in the event a text message is sent in error}

Pathology laboratories may choose to report other data elements in addition to the seven expected data elements outlined above.