Referrer Newsletter April 2010
Referrer Newsletter April 2010
Community Contracts, Privacy Changes, PET/CT and Fees
Changes to Community Referred Radiology Contracts:
Changes are being made to these contracts, which include the Acute Demand and Community Referred Contracts.
The main changes will be in the area of demand management, with responsibility being passed to the GP liaison personnel in the DHB and PHOs.
There may well be teething issues as these systems are developed, resulting in difficulty tracking down the status of some referrals while they are still "in process".
CRG has agreed to assist as best we can during the period of transition.
Privacy Law and Access to Images and Reports:
We have been asked to review our policies on privacy and security as regards access by medical practitioners and other health professionals to patients' images and reports. We have sought legal opinion as well as the advice of the Privacy Commission, but it appears that there is as yet no consensus as to how we should all operate.
It is clear that we should not be restricting access when the intention is for treating a patient. Patients need to be fully informed of how their information is handled and safeguarded, and be given the option to restrict access if they wish.
We have therefore decided to remove the present restrictions whereby the only people to access information has been the primary referrer, other members of a group practice and those to whom access has been specifically granted. From now on, all primary referrers will be given access to all the information, so long as they have signed our existing privacy form (which can be found on our web site: www.crg.co.nz), and the patient has not specifically requested access restriction.
Patients who request that access be restricted will pose a technical challenge, in that those images and reports will not be able to be seen by anyone outside CRG, until the restriction has been lifted and our IT personnel can update the files. That service will not necessarily be available 24/7, which poses a theoretical risk for a patient who becomes seriously ill outside work hours.
CRG is about to open a PET/CT scanner in a new wing at Southern Cross Radiology. PET stands for positron emitting tomography and involves the injection of a radio-labeled glucose-like compound which is taken up by tissues with high energy consumption, including tumours. The images are superimposed on CT images, so we can determine exactly where the abnormal tissue is situated. The main use is in the staging of cancers and lymphoma as well as the early monitoring of the effects of treatment. On average, PET/CT changes treatment decisions in 30% of cases, so it is highly effective, albeit "not cheap". See more on PET/CT here.
Please note that Hagley Radiology does not perform General X-ray examinations, just Ultrasound and 3 Tesla MRI.
Most CRG fees are being increased in line with inflation as from 1st April. The latest schedule is on our web site. Display fees. Please note that the Ultrasound Pregnancy surcharge remains unchanged at $50.00, and the existing waivers continue.