PathSupport - an RCPA eClinical Decision Support (eCDS) project

PathSupport is an RCPA eClinical Decision Support (eCDS) project to investigate how eCDS systems could potentially enhance the delivery of pathology services by streamlining workflows, guiding electronic requesting (eReferrals) and improving the use of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).

The project will review the maturity of eCDS within Australia, and identify benefits and barriers to wider implementation in the future – including through the My Health Record (MyHR).

PathSupport is fully funded by the Department of Health and Aged Care through the Quality Use of Pathology Program (QUPP) and due for completion during the 2023/24 financial year.

Project overview

The overall purpose of this project is to support digital health adoption in the Australian pathology sector, including uploads to MyHR and progress towards e-requesting, e-reporting and clinical decision support for pathology.

The PathSupport eCDS project will expand on the previous Standardised Pathology Informatics in Australia (SPIA) guideline and best practice development work as well as RCPA’s current Pathology Informatics – Interoperability Project (PI-Pilot-22-24) to assess the compliance of a pathology laboratory information system against the SPIA Guidelines V4.0 for receiving and reporting eReferrals.

The project will:

  • Analyse the current manual and digital pathology test request/report workflow processes, and requirements needed to support digital workflow
  • Assess requestor access to/usage of pathology e-requests and review the extent to which SPIA V4 Guidelines (which reference Systemized Nomenclature of Medicine [SNOMED] terminology) are embedded
  • Survey different GP cohorts GPs to identify their requirements and associated benefits of using eCDS, as well as any barriers to broader adoption
  • Identify any gaps and/or barriers that would facilitate and support increased access to atomic or discreet data through MyHR.

Working towards a nationally consistent approach to eReferrals

General practitioners (GPs) currently have access to eReferrals with eCDS at a range of levels and through a variety of software vendors, with uptake largely depending on GP vendor software, laboratory information systems, cost, demographics, location, resources, clinician enthusiasm and time.

Identifying the foundations for a nationally consistent approach to eReferrals will help to provide further guidance for the RCPA in considering and recommending requirements to meet minimum accreditation standards, such as the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) and National Pathology Accreditation Advisory Council (NPAAC). These could then be implemented by laboratories to support eCDS and eReferrals.

The use of standardised requesting and reporting terminology via secure electronic messaging (where possible) is recommended in the RCPA SPIA Guidelines V4.0.

Further information

To find out more about RCPA’s PathSupport eCDS Project, email David Willock via

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