Alternative access to bowel screening kits training guide

Read or download this short training guide on the alternative access to kits model before you bulk order and issue bowel screening kits to patients.

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) should contact the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) for culturally appropriate training.

Bowel cancer and the importance of screening

Bowel cancer can develop without any signs. It usually starts as small growths called polyps, which can grow and become cancer.

Regular screening through the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program saves lives. If found early, over 90% of bowel cancers can be successfully treated.

We invite eligible Australians aged 50 to 74 every 2 years to complete a free, simple test they do at home.

You can play an important role in helping your patients make informed decisions about bowel cancer screening. Many patients are more likely to complete the test after discussing the process with a trusted healthcare provider.

Getting started in your practice

The National Cancer Screening Register supports the program by inviting and reminding participants to screen.

You must register for access to the National Cancer Screening Register Healthcare Provider (HCP) Portal before you can:

  • bulk order kits
  • issue kits
  • access and submit screening data.

Registering for HCP Portal access

To register for the portal you need a Provider Digital Access (PRODA) account.

Once you have registered for a PRODA account, you can login to the National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR) HCP Portal.

See the NCSR quick start guide and the walk-through video for detailed instructions.

For registration help, you can either:

Integrating your clinical software with the NCSR

You can integrate your clinical software with the NCSR and issue screening kits to patients using a familiar platform.

You can view your patients’ screening status, including if they are overdue, and update their participant record.

Software compatible for integration include MedicalDirector, Communicare or Best Practice.

You cannot order bowel screening kits in bulk through clinical software. Place bulk orders for bowel screening kits through the HCP Portal.

Learn more about integrating your clinical software.

For integration help, you can either: 

Ordering kits

To bulk order kits for your practice you need to:

Watch a short video showing this process in the HCP Portal, or read the instructions.

The ordering process should take no more than 2 minutes to complete.

Kits expire after 7 months, so please carefully calculate how many your practice will need.

You can order kits in batches of 10. We recommend ordering no more than 30 in one go.

You can order more kits if you have a large eligible-patient base.

To order more than 100 kits, call the National Cancer Screening Register on 1800 627 701. We will ask you to give a brief reason for the intended usage. This will help us understand how you plan to use large orders of kits.

Kit orders may take up to 21 days to dispatch, depending on mail house volumes.

Issuing a kit and recording it in the NCSR

You've spoken with your patient about the screening test, and they have decided to take the kit home.

Next you must log into the HCP Portal (or if accessing through your clinical software, open the NCSR Hub when in a patient record) and:

  1. check the patient is eligible, that their details are correct and make any changes needed
  2. complete the form ‘Alternative Access Model (issue/re-issue kit)’ to generate a unique participant details form
  3. print a copy of the participant details form and give it to the patient to sign and include with their samples in the reply-paid envelope (provided in the kit).

These steps ensure the lab will be able to test the samples and send the result to the correct address.

This process should take less than 2 minutes to complete.

Watch a short video showing this process in the HCP Portal, or read the instructions.

Encouraging patients to screen for bowel cancer

What you say to patients can encourage them towards doing the bowel screening test.

Ask your patient if they have any concerns about doing the test at home. 

Show them an open test kit and explain how to use it and show them the walk-through video. We have translated the test kit instructions into 22 languages.

You can order demonstration kits from us.

Conversation starters

  • The bowel screening test is free. 
  • You may feel fit and healthy and have no symptoms, but you can still be at risk of bowel cancer. 
  • The test simple to do at home and could save your life. 
  • If found early, bowel cancer can be successfully treated in more than 90% of cases. 
  • Over the age of 50, the risk of getting bowel cancer increases. 
  • Do it to live a long healthy life and stay healthy for family and friends. 
  • Put the test near the toilet, where you will remember to do it. 
  • The test is clean – this kit includes toilet liners and only the collection tube tip ever touches the poo.
  • If you don't want to take one today, we could have the NCSR mail it to your home address.

Notifications, results and patient follow-up

Once you issue your patient a kit or they receive a positive screening result, the NCSR will automatically send follow-up alerts.

Health centres play a vital role in encouraging patients to act on these follow-up triggers.

In the participant's profile, you can see their screening status, next action, alerts, results, and correspondence sent to them. After you issue a kit to a patient, an icon will display against that person’s bowel record.

To support with patient follow-up, go to the My Correspondence tab in the portal or NCSR Hub in your clinical software.

  • Here you will see if a test result has been received, is inconclusive, and notifications for when the patient is due for their next screening round. You will also see correspondence about follow-up of a positive test result.
  • If you see notifications showing a positive result has not been followed up, you should contact the patient.
  • If a result has not been received, you should encourage your patient to return the completed test.
  • If a result is inconclusive, the register will automatically send the participant a replacement kit. Encourage your patient to return the completed test.

Receiving test results

It can take up to 4 weeks for both the patient and health centre to receive the test result. If you have not received a patient result, you can check the patient record by:

Explaining test results

You should explain the test results to your patient and advise on next steps.

Test result

Interpretation

Action

Negative

No blood was detected in the samples.

The patient and their nominated healthcare provider will be mailed a copy of the results. Reassure the patient of what the result means and advise they should screen again in 2 years.

Positive

Blood has been detected in one or both samples. This does not mean the patient has bowel cancer, but further investigation is needed to find out why the blood is there.

The patient and their nominated healthcare provider will be mailed a copy of the results. An alert will appear in the HCP Portal against the patient's record. An 8-week reminder letter will be sent to the patient and the nominated healthcare provider if a follow-up appointment has not occurred. A doctor will likely refer the patient for further diagnostic testing such as a colonoscopy.

Inconclusive

The patient has provided only one sample and it produced a negative result.

The patient and their nominated healthcare provider will be mailed a copy of the result. An alert will appear in the HCP Portal against the patient's record. Contact the patient to encourage them to do the test again. Let them know the register will automatically issue them with a replacement kit to the address held in the register. This could be the local healthcare centre.

No result

The sample could not be tested. This can occur when the:

  • sample had too much or not enough poo provided
  • collection tube was damaged
  • kit is completed or tested by the laboratory after the expiry date
  • samples were not tested within 14 days of the first collection.

Resources

Resources are available to help you and your practice’s staff communicate with patients at all stages of the bowel screening process. You can also find resources to help navigate the NCSR to bulk order kits, and how to register that a kit has been issued to a patient.

Resources are available to order for your practice, free of charge including:

NCSR guides

For ‘how to’ videos on using the register, browse the NCSR YouTube playlist.

Contacts

Alternative access to bowel screening kits

Contact us for more information about alternative access to bowel screening kits.

Download this guide

Date last updated:

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