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Study Shows Patients are not always getting their lab results – So Get a PHR and Get Your Own

Posted Jun 22 2009 10:40pm

This is an interesting post and one thing I found odd that was not mentioned was using a PHR, personal health record.  Both Google Health and HealthVault once the physician has given the ok can get their own lab results in their personal health record.  Granted this won’t cover all lab results but it is certainly an improvement on the process if Quest is the lab of choice, and again odd how potential solutions are not mentioned in such articles. 

Quest Diagnostics and Microsoft HealthVault – Connect to get your Lab Results in your PHR

Quest Diagnostics and Google Empower Patients and Physicians to Share Diagnostic Test Results Online

You can even access the information via an iPhone with Quest.

Quest Care360 – Access Patient Lab Results and Medication History from your iPhone

It makes me seem to think that this scenario is very wide spread and again exemplifies the need for education in this area from the top all the way down.  It’s technology and how to use it.  

Think tank details its ideas for use of health IT records – Do they use a PHR?

Here’s another service where patients order up their labs with a prescription from their doctor.

Patients can order up their own lab tests on line with with a referring physician and you get a free PHR to boot

With a PHR and using a lab service that will work with your PHR, you can at least have some control over what falls or should not fall through the cracks.  The study showed that EMRs were not particularly helpful in this area, so again it looks like the best alternative here is to try and get your own, and then share as you desire.  We all have more information flying at us today than we ever imagined and physicians are no different in that respect and probably have more than most other occupations, and their information is vital to us and to them, it’s our health.  BD


June 22, 2009 -- Primary care clinicians and their staffs sometimes fail to inform all patients of the results of lab or screening tests --  or fail to keep records that patients were informed and thus have no proof, says a study in the June 22 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. That poses potential dangers to consumer health and possible legal troubles for doctors, researchers say.

"There is a disconnect in many offices, and this is alarming," Lawrence P. Casalino, MD, PhD, of Weill Cornell Medical College, tells WebMD. "Some patients aren't being told about the results of tests, and this shouldn't happen. The takeaway message for consumers is clear -- if you don't hear within two weeks, call your doctor's office."

They identified 1,889 abnormal test results and 135 apparent failures to inform the patient or to document that the patient was informed. That’s a rate of 7.1%, or about one out of every 14 abnormal tests.

He tells WebMD that many primary care doctors' offices are swamped with paperwork, making it easy for test reports to go to the wrong place, or the right place and not be seen, and that often procedures are not in place to make sure doctors see and act on lab results.

"Doctors should at the least mail out a form and keep a copy in the charts," he says. "In our research team, it turned out that almost everybody had a personal experience with a missed communication."

Patients Not Always Told of Lab Test Results

Related Reading:

Think tank details its ideas for use of health IT records – Do they use a PHR?
Education not Fear is Needed with Medical Health Records
Technology “It’s for Those Guys Over There” said the CEO – I Don’t Do Digital Notes
Bringing Providers, Health Care Executives and Administrators into the 21st Century
Personal Health Records – Who’s in the Know and Who has one?
Why Use a PHR – Because It is there and it stands to help decrease medical errors
Social Security likes PHRs too – wanting to work with EMR and PHR software with pilot program
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