NSW Health Pathology Delivers over 4.25 Million Test Results Using AWS


Industry Challenge

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Australia, hospitals and testing sites had trouble delivering an overwhelming number of test results in a timely fashion. Using Amazon Web Services (AWS), New South Wales (NSW) Health Pathology quickly built an automated system that has delivered test results at scale throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

HCLS Symposium 2021—New South Wales Health Pathology

Using the cloud removes the heavy lifting we would have had to do to build this in house and allows us to deliver rapidly and at scale.”

James Patterson
Chief Information Officer,
New South Wales Health Pathology

NSW Health Pathology’s Solution

NSW Health Pathology created an SMS automated notification service that can deliver COVID-19 test results to patients in under 2 hours after completion in the lab. Prior to the service, it took up to 10 days for New South Wales hospitals to deliver results, which was elongating isolation times and increasing patient anxiety. “There was an appetite within NSW Health Pathology to find a way to directly notify patients when they returned negative results,” says James Patterson, chief information officer at NSW Health Pathology. NSW Health Pathology immediately contacted AWS with its idea for an automated system. “It took us about 2 weeks from that idea to get our first patient registered through our SMS system,” says Patterson.

Benefits of Using AWS

The cloud capabilities on AWS were key to building a robust service quickly. “Using the cloud removes the heavy lifting we would have had to do to build this in house and allows us to deliver rapidly and at scale,” says Patterson. Among the many AWS services that NSW Health Pathology used in its solution, Amazon Redshift—a fast and widely used cloud data warehouse—is key for running analytics. For any test results that don’t match with a patient registered in the SMS system, the patient is instead notified over the phone. To meet this need, NSW Health Pathology set up a contact center quickly using Amazon Connect, a simple-to-use omnichannel cloud contact center that helps users provide superior customer service at a lower cost because of its pay-as-you-go pricing.

NSW Health Pathology was also able to use various AWS serverless services, including AWS Lambda, a serverless, event-driven compute service, which it used to implement business logic. It also used Amazon DynamoDB—a fully managed, serverless, key-value NoSQL database—to record patient registrations and results. For SMS delivery, it used Amazon Pinpoint, a flexible and scalable outbound and inbound marketing communications service. And to deliver an enhanced chat experience to patients, it used Amazon Lex, a fully managed artificial intelligence service. Using these services, NSW Health Pathology could scale seamlessly to meet peak demand and only pay for what it used.

NSW Health Pathology’s solution delivers quick results, with most patients getting their results within hours after the laboratories complete testing. It’s popular with patients because it’s free, simple, and fast and because it doesn’t require an app or internet connection; consequently, 87 percent of patients that visited a state-run testing facility registered for their results through SMS. The system has delivered over 4.25 million results as of mid-November 2021 and has saved frontline workers over 1 million clinical hours of manually notifying patients of negative results. “The service has been one of the highlights of our COVID-19 response at NSW Health Pathology,” says Patterson.

Visit aws.amazon.com/health for more information.

About New South Wales Health Pathology

New South Wales Health Pathology is one of Australia’s largest public health sector pathology providers. It operates over 60 laboratories and conducts more than 61 million tests each year. 

Benefits of AWS

  • Provides COVID-19 test results in less than 2 hours
  • Saved over 1 million clinical hours for frontline workers
  • Delivered over 4.25 million COVID-19 test results
  • Built solution and registered first patient in 2 weeks
  • Registered 87% of patients who were tested at state-run facilities in NSW

AWS Services Used

Amazon Redshift

Amazon Redshift uses SQL to analyze structured and semi-structured data across data warehouses, operational databases, and data lakes, using AWS-designed hardware and machine learning to deliver the best price performance at any scale.

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Amazon Connect

Provide superior customer service at a lower cost with an easy-to-use omnichannel cloud contact center. With Amazon Connect, you can set up a contact center in minutes that can scale to support millions of customers.

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AWS Lambda

AWS Lambda is a serverless, event-driven compute service that lets you run code for virtually any type of application or backend service without provisioning or managing servers. 

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Amazon DynamoDB

Amazon DynamoDB is a fully managed, serverless, key-value NoSQL database designed to run high-performance applications at any scale. 

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