Should Patients Get Direct Access to Their Laboratory Test Results? An Answer With Many Questions

Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, United States
JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association (Impact Factor: 35.29). 11/2011; 306(22):2502-3. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2011.1797
Source: PubMed
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    • "Therefore, institutional policies and procedures should be strengthened to clarify test result notification responsibilities for physicians as well as address responsibility aspects of direct notification [21]. Our study has several limitations. "
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    ABSTRACT: To determine physician perspectives about direct notification of normal and abnormal test results. We conducted a cross-sectional survey at five clinical sites in the US and Australia. The US-based study was conducted via web-based survey of primary care physicians and specialists between July and October 2012. An identical paper-based survey was self-administered between June and September 2012 with specialists in Australia. Of 1417 physicians invited, 315 (22.2%) completed the survey. Two-thirds (65.3%) believed that patients should be directly notified of normal results, but only 21.3% were comfortable with direct notification of clinically significant abnormal results. Physicians were more likely to endorse direct notification of abnormal results if they believed it would reduce the number of patients lost to follow-up (OR=4.98, 95%CI=2.21-1.21) or if they had personally missed an abnormal test result (OR=2.95, 95%CI=1.44-6.02). Conversely, physicians were less likely to endorse if they believed that direct notification interfered with the practice of medicine (OR=0.39, 95%CI=0.20-0.74). Physicians we surveyed generally favor direct notification of normal results but appear to have substantial concerns about direct notification of abnormal results. Widespread use of direct notification should be accompanied by strategies to help patients manage test result abnormalities they receive. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
    Patient Education and Counseling 02/2015; 167(6). DOI:10.1016/j.pec.2015.02.011 · 2.20 Impact Factor
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    • "42 Furthermore, the Department of Health and Human Services recently proposed a rule43 allowing patients to access test results directly from the laboratory upon patient request (ie, bypassing the provider). However, providers’ interpretation of test results within the context of the patient's other clinical conditions remains essential.44 Because most PCPs receive hundreds of test results a week,31 one area for potential improvement is PCPs’ resources to facilitate patient notification. "
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    ABSTRACT: Context Failure to notify patients of test results is common even when electronic health records (EHRs) are used to report results to practitioners. We sought to understand the broad range of social and technical factors that affect test result management in an integrated EHR-based health system. Methods Between June and November 2010, we conducted a cross-sectional, web-based survey of all primary care practitioners (PCPs) within the Department of Veterans Affairs nationwide. Survey development was guided by a socio-technical model describing multiple inter-related dimensions of EHR use. Findings Of 5001 PCPs invited, 2590 (51.8%) responded. 55.5% believed that the EHRs did not have convenient features for notifying patients of test results. Over a third (37.9%) reported having staff support needed for notifying patients of test results. Many relied on the patient's next visit to notify them for normal (46.1%) and abnormal results (20.1%). Only 45.7% reported receiving adequate training on using the EHR notification system and 35.1% reported having an assigned contact for technical assistance with the EHR; most received help from colleagues (60.4%). A majority (85.6%) stayed after hours or came in on weekends to address notifications; less than a third reported receiving protected time (30.1%). PCPs strongly endorsed several new features to improve test result management, including better tracking and visualization of result notifications. Conclusions Despite an advanced EHR, both social and technical challenges exist in ensuring notification of test results to practitioners and patients. Current EHR technology requires significant improvement in order to avoid similar challenges elsewhere.
    Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 12/2012; 20(4). DOI:10.1136/amiajnl-2012-001267 · 3.50 Impact Factor
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    Journal of General Internal Medicine 07/2012; 27(10):1235-7. DOI:10.1007/s11606-012-2161-y · 3.42 Impact Factor
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