Telstra Health has won a $178.3 million federal government contract to maintain and implement a system for managing the cancer screening results of more than 11 million patients.
The measure was announced in the 2015 federal budget, with a request for tender published in August. The project was given $148.8 million in the 2014-2015 budget and was later handed an extra $29.9 billion in the 2015-16 budget.
The main feature of the system will be a single participant record that integrates with My Health Records, Medicare and private health providers, creating a single national record for the screening of cervical and bowl cancers.
The new system will replace eight separate state and territory cervical screening registers, along with an outdated paper-based bowel screening register.
Along with the technology itself, the five-year contract will see Telstra Health supply a range of related transitional, support and operational services.
The support services will include a contact centre to assist medical practitioners and patients, as well as a mail house to send invitations for people to undertake screening.
While initially storing bowel and cervical cancer test results, the federal government has indicated the platform could potentially be extended to cover other forms of the disease in the future.
Implementation of a national platform for bowel cancer test results is linked to another federal government policy, announced as part of the 2014 federal budget, to introduce biennial bowel screening for all Australians aged 50 to 74 by 2020.
The project will be led within Telstra Health by Ruth Salom, a trained pathologist who previously served as the executive director of South Australia’s State Pathology Service.
At executive level, it will be overseen by Telstra’s group executive for international and new businesses Cynthia Whelan, whose portfolio covers Telstra Health, Telstra Ventures, smart home solutions, new premium services and Telstra International.
The database will be a single point of reference for state and territory governments, general practices and pathology services, as well as other private and public health providers.