Where to get copies of your test results

Viewing your results reports through My Health Record

The Digital Health  website provides information on digital health services, noting the need for a connected healthcare system is greater than ever – one that is accessible, progressive and secure.  Digital health has become a vital part of a modern, accessible healthcare system designed to meet the needs of all Australians.
https://my.gov.au/ will take you to the myGov website where you can log into your My Health Record, you will need to have My Health Record linked to myGov to access it.

More links to information about your My Health Record


My Health app
The Australian Digital Health Agency has launched its first consumer mobile application, my health, powered by My Health Record. For further information, please click on the video below


If you are not registered with My Health Record, there are other ways you can get your results.

Everyone is legally entitled to a copy of their pathology test results but it should be emphasised that the doctor or healthcare provider who requested the tests is in the best position to understand and interpret the test results and the potential impact for their patient.

Your doctor or clinic

If you would like a copy of your test results, you need to ask your doctor or healthcare provider during your consultation when they are writing the request form.


Your pathology laboratory

You can ask for your results directly from the pathology laboratory that is performing the tests. Each pathology laboratory has their own protocol on how to release test results to patients.
Even if arrangements have been made for you to receive a written copy of you pathology test results, the laboratory is unlikely to release them verbally over the phone due to the difficulty of positively identifying the caller. You will need to provide something in writing.

They will most likely inform your doctor that they have provided you with results. This is because reading pathology test results can be confusing or even distressing in some circumstances.

Pathology test results are reported using technical medical language and this can be difficult for most people to interpret or understand. At Pathology Tests Explained we can help you. Just click on the grey image at the top of the home page. We also have a series of easy-read sheets you can download and videos and animations explaining some of the most common tests and their results.


Who can access your reports?

Pathology laboratories are bound by privacy laws covering the use and release of personal information. This means test results can only be released to health practitioners directly involved in your care. Other potentially interested parties, including family members, cannot access your test results without your consent.

There are circumstances where pathology laboratories are required to release pathology test results to a third party such as:

  • when they are ordered to do so by a court, and
  • when they are required by law to send results of an infection that is a notifiable disease (e.g. measles, hepatitis, Ross River disease) to the relevant health authority, or the results of newly diagnosed cancers to Cancer Registries in each State or Territory.

If your results are late

The time it takes to perform tests varies considerably. An urgent blood test can be processed quickly within an hour or so, whereas the same test when not urgent can be batched together with other samples and processed on the next run of that particular test. Usually, the results are back within 24 hours. A complex cancer investigation can take many days or even weeks to complete. If the lab needs to culture a sample to identify an infectious disease it will take time to grow the bacteria. Sometimes, samples need to be tested by instruments in several specialist labs. Some tests, especially genetic tests are more complex and need to be sent to a reference lab that performs high level testing. In some cases, samples need to be sent to overseas labs.


If you haven’t had your results and want to know when to expect them, the best place to start is with your doctor or clinic.
Most pathology labs transmit test results using secure website links or apps to the doctor who has requested the tests. A few practitioners receive results by fax or on paper. In some cases, when something needs to be discussed or explained, the pathologist will phone the doctor.

While there is no formal restriction on you directly contacting a pathologist, the most appropriate person to discuss pathology test results is your doctor. This is because test results need to be interpreted in the context of other factors which may not be known to the pathologist, such as a physical examination.

If you want your specimen back

You can request the lab to return your specimen. However, although the original specimen belongs to you, it becomes the property of the pathology laboratory once it has been processed or analysed.
Pathology laboratories must retain all specimens for a mandatory time specified by law, which varies according to the type of specimen or pathology test and can be anything from a few days to 20 years. After this time the specimen is destroyed for reasons of privacy, and to avoid infection risks, unless you have requested its return. The pathology laboratory may charge a fee to return the specimen because it requires special handling and processing procedures.

Useful resources on health information can be found on the Australian Government Department of Health website and through the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

Useful Links

Pathology Tests Explained (PTEx) is a not-for profit group managed by a consortium of Australasian medical and scientific organisations.

With up-to-date, evidence-based information about pathology tests it is a leading trusted source for consumers.

Information is prepared and reviewed by practising pathologists and scientists and is entirely free of any commercial influence.

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