Governments, pathology providers, and clients relying on pathology reports face increasing conflict between burgeoning costs versus demands for service innovation. The health industry has been generally slower than the financial industry to embrace the benefits of computerization in terms of portability and accessibility. There have however been good reasons including the requirements for privacy and security, together with the complexity of the information itself.
Many countries have embraced programs for electronic health records (EHRs), encouraging electronic requesting and reporting of health information, including pathology. Pathology providers have long focused on excellence within their own institution by embracing the best analytical instrumentation, information technology for laboratory information systems, and the best medical expertise for interpretation and reporting. Centralised reporting to EHRs will however highlight to clinicians and tech-savvy patients unnecessary, and sometimes unsafe, variations in the requesting and reporting of pathology. Examples include variations in test profiles, test naming, reference limits and units.
Pathology providers and clients must collaborate to create robust standards for the transmission and interpretation of health messages. There is an urgent need in most countries to standardize both requesting and reporting. Structured messaging and medical terminologies offers tools to assist.
This presentation will focus on developments in both medical terminologies and pathology harmonisation initiatives that will require greater awareness and support from the medical community to generate maximum benefit.