Tender goes out for national cancer screening register

The federal Department of Health (DoH) has issued a request for tender for a new ICT system to build a National Cancer Screening Register, which will see the results of cervical and bowel cancer screening communicated through the PCEHR.

The federal government announced in the May budget that it would set up a new register to support a revised national bowel cancer screening program as well as a new national cervical cancer program that will see a primary human papillomavirus (HP) test replace the current Pap test for cervical screening from May 2017.

The government says it intends that the register will include a single participant record, streamlined reporting and the use of the PCEHR and eHealth foundation systems to enable participants and health professionals to provide, update and receive information.

It will bring together the different state and territory cervical screening registers and will also support the transition from a paper-based system for the bowel cancer register to a more streamlined system.

Health Minister Sussan Ley said in May that the register will provide a template for any future national population screening tests.

“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,” Ms Ley said.

The two screening programs will involve up to 1.4 million eligible women and 9.5 eligible people to participate in cervical and bowel cancer screening respectively. The register will also support the reminder and follow-up systems, the tender documents say.

The tender is for not just the register and its ICT services, but for operator services for the national bowel cancer screening program and, at the discretion of each state and territory government, the operator services for the cervical screening program.

The department wants the provision of the register, its ICT services and the operator services as a fully managed service. While the various state health departments and cancer institutes manage the statewide Pap test registers, the national bowel screening program is managed by the Department of Human Services/Medicare on behalf of DoH.

The register will provide an ongoing data feed to DoH's enterprise data warehouse, which will be responsible for all strategic reporting to register stakeholders, except individuals. The PCEHR will be the mechanism that provides information to individuals, the documents say.

The winning bidder will also be required to manage individual responses to invitations to be screened or re-screened. Individuals can opt out of the program but if they agree to a screening, the operator will be required to register their participation details, including their nominated healthcare professional and their preferred communication channel.

The department expects to sign a contract in February or March next year, with a go-live date of May 1, 2017, in tandem with the listing of the HP screening test on the MBS.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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