Should Patients Get Direct Access to Their Laboratory Test Results? – — JAMA

Should Patients Get Direct Access to Their Laboratory Test Results? – — JAMA.

Sure, why not?

The authors of this article have done great work in this area, showing that “between 8% and 26% of abnormal test results, including those suspicious for malignancy, are not followed up in a timely manner.”

While they also feel that

To develop best practices in this area, the potential consequences and benefits of this approach should be subjected to rigorous evaluation.

It’s worth noting that 22.4 million test results were reviewed by patients online in 2011, just at Kaiser Permanente. This is an increase of 14 % from 2010.

I’m going to stick with the comment they cited in the piece “Giving Patients Their Results Online Might Be the Answer” as the better answer than the answer in the piece above :).

And, for a little walk down memory lane, it’s worth reading these two pieces, they will help frame the not-newness of this conversation.

See “Now Reading: “Concern that sharing information with patients may cause sustained psychological distress is probably unfounded””, circa 1973.

7 thoughts on “Should Patients Get Direct Access to Their Laboratory Test Results? – — JAMA”

  1. I love the title of that last post ALMOST as much as the fact that this is a conclusion reached in 1973 (for goodness sake). Talk about an idea who’s time has come! Thanks for the references.

  2. I love the title of that last post ALMOST as much as the fact that this is a conclusion reached in 1973 (for goodness sake). Talk about an idea who’s time has come! Thanks for the references.

  3. You’ve GOT to be kidding me, JAMA.

    In a situation where 8-26% of lab results (including dangerous findings!) are missed, they say this??

    “Although direct patient notification of certain test results has been implemented in a small number of US health systems, there is limited evidence that it leads to better follow-up.”

    Are they SERIOUSLY saying that additional lack of follow-up by docs is a reason not to bother ensuring that the cancerous patient is told?? Seriously, JAMA?

    And this is the priority?? A reason not to improve?

    “How potentially immediate direct access to laboratory results will affect the workload and workflow of the currently overwhelmed health system and physicians is even less clear.”

    How about we get really old-fashioned, and have the AMA adopt a policy that we’ll do everything in our power to make sure disease is caught as soon as possible?

    1. @ePatientDave Dear Dave,

      epatientdave This got me thinking about whether JAMA would entertain another editorial entitled, “The patient should have direct access to their lab results,” co-written by a physician and a patient.

      All of this assumes that the editorial above will really have any impact on the change that has already happened. I guess this is one of those things that we can attribute to social media – the attenuation of the signal from the peer-reviewed world,

      Ted

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