The integration of computer systems and telecommunications offers faster transfer of pathology requests and reports. However, there is a need to consider privacy and data protection principles and to ensure the correct transmission and receipt of reports. NPAAC’s statutory role in the regulation of pathology services makes it the logical body to formulate standards for the way pathology data is communicated. However, these standards are not intended to replace other requirements that may be imposed under Commonwealth or state or territory laws, or by institutional ethics review committees.
This document is issued by NPAAC for the guidance of laboratories in Australia, providing minimum standards considered acceptable for good laboratory practice in relation to the transfer of pathology data, including electronic transfer. It should be read in conjunction with other NPAAC documents. Since information communication is evolving, and laboratory accreditation procedures may need to evolve with it, points deemed important for practice are identified as either standards or guidelines:
- Standards are the minimum standard for a procedure, method, staffing resource or laboratory facility that is required before a laboratory can attain accreditation.
(Standards are printed in bold type and prefaced with an ‘S’, e.g. S2.2.)
- Guidelines are a consensus recommendation for best practice and should be used if a higher standard of practice is appropriate, particularly when setting up or modifying a laboratory.
(Guidelines are prefaced with a ‘G’, e.g. G2.2.)
- Comments are provided to give clarification of the text, guidance for interpretation and examples.
(Comments are prefaced with ‘Commentary’ and are inserted under the relevant standard or guideline. They may be prefaced with a ‘C’, e.g. C1.5.)