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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

Point-of-care testing in diabetes to be Medicare subsidised

Health Industry Hub | March 26, 2021 |

MedTech News: From 1st November 2021, monitoring patients with diabetes will become easier and more convenient.

Point-of-care glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) tests will be listed on Medicare, funding 190,000 tests for Australians with previously diagnosed diabetes.

Diabetes accounts for 11% of all hospitalisations, which can result in a range of health complications, including heart disease, kidney disease, blindness and lower limb amputation.

Pathology Technology Australia members were thrilled with the announcement by the Hon. Greg Hunt, Minister for Health, funding point of care testing for Haemoglobin A1c. This will increase availability of testing to help people with diabetes better manage their health.

Dean Whiting, CEO of Pathology Technology Australia thanked the members and partners Health Technology Analysts for their tireless efforts over many years to make this happen.

Currently, HbA1c testing is performed in labs, which requires a referral, and a visit to a collection centre to have blood drawn. The blood is then sent to a pathology lab and results are provided to the referring doctor. The patient then has another appointment to discuss the results.                             

The point-of-care tests will be done in the doctor’s surgery by an appropriately trained GP or specialist guided by relevant quality and safety standards, providing immediate results.

Greg Hunt MP said “By listing this as a Medicare item, our aim is to significantly reduce turnaround times, increase patient convenience and improve access particularly for patients based in regional, rural and remote areas, and people with impaired mobility”.

Lab testing will continue to play a critical role in the diagnosis and management of diabetes.

The National Pathology Accreditation Advisory Council (NPAAC) is working with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) on an accreditation standard for the use of point-of-care testing in laboratories and non-laboratory settings to support the listing of this item.


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