BreastScreen WA, a breast cancer-screening program established 30 years ago to provide care to the women of Western Australia, announced the launch of a new secure online results portal for its patients.

The Client Results Portal will send an SMS message to the patient containing a link to the electronic letter containing the results – the document can be securely downloaded as a PDF file onto the user's smartphone and can be printed or forwarded as well.

The opt in feature is part of an overall drive across the country's healthcare system to improve electronic engagement with patients – BreastScreen WA said it believes digitalization can help increase patient satisfaction with its services, thereby boosting participation in breast screening and improving rescreening rates.

BreastScreen WA already provides a number of online services to women in WA, including online appointment booking and secure electronic transfer of patient results to general practitioners.

In addition, the program offers a slate of mobile offerings, including SMS appointment confirmation or appointment reminders, as well as SMS rescreen reminders.

"Patient-centred health initiatives that utilise digital healthcare and innovation also promote sustainability," Health Minister Roger Cook said in a statement. "This new online portal meets all of these criteria and is a great example of positive electronic engagement with patients."

BreastScreen WA provides free screening mammograms to asymptomatic women and specifically targets women aged 50 to 74 years, and is part of the national BreastScreen Australia program – in WA the statewide service boasts eleven permanent screening clinics.

In addition, four mobile BreastScreen WA services units-- similar in dimensions to a mobile home or shipping container--visit about 100 outer metropolitan and rural towns every two years. 

"This is efficient, secure and will allow women to see their results quicker than waiting for mail to be delivered," said Parliamentary Secretary to the Health Minister Alanna Clohesy in a statement. "I understand it can often be a nervous time waiting for results, so the Clients Result Portal is all about putting the patient first and enabling them to get their results as soon as practicable."

As BreastScreen WA builds out its Web-based offerings for cancer care, researchers in Australia are simultaneously working to develop new methods of detecting cancer.

Researchers at the University of Queensland's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology are using a $300,000 grant from Evolution Mining to further develop a gold nanoparticle blood test, which could help oncologists with early and more accurate cancer prognosis.

Last month, a team of scientists from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney released the results of a study that streamlined the discovery of specialized immune cells that can help fight cancer.

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