30Rock: How Test Results Can Go Wrong

See how many different aspects of this experience could be improved (security, privacy, confidence, accuracy) if the patient had online access to their results, linked to explanatory health information and interaction with their care team at their convenience.

While the situation is obviously a parody, it seems to have enough elements of truth in it that I wonder if the writer experienced receiving test results recently. Without overanalyzing, I would say that the piece does a great job of showing the impact of disempowerment. Thanks to the 30 Rock team for the great example.

In California, a patient wouldn’t have a choice except to receive the results via telephone or in person, because it’s been illegal since 2002 to share pathology results with patients over the Internet, even if the patient and/or the doctor wish them to be communicated that way.


That is ridiculous that California doesn't allow e-mail of test results. With recently having a baby and going through 9 months of tests galore, I would have missed so much work if I would have had to go to the doctor for every test result or wait days for it to come in the mail. Who has time to wait in a world that lives on Twitter and Facebook??

Dave and Katie,

These are very questions. I think I would like to elevate them to their own blog post and see what others think….I could guess at the rationale in 2002, but I'm not very sure of it today. I think your experiences as patients will be very useful in the discussion,


Ted Eytan, MD