Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Test writeups becoming more patient-friendly

I always thought doctors knew the normal and abnormal numbers on all those tests they like to make you get--but the info is printed on the sheet by the lab.

Laura Landro, WSJ, Sept 16, 2014, says more patients are asking for their results sheets and providers are trying to make this info more accessible to the layperson. A federal rule allowing patients to get results went into effect in April.

Quest allows patients to dial up their results online. Since the new regulation went into effect, 700,000 Quest lab results have been accessed.

The hope is patients will spot abnormal results that docs might miss--an estimated one in 14 cases.

Quest's reports include charts and graphs putting results in context.

Kaiser does this, too--and when doctors explain how it works, patients have a better time using it.

For one thing, you can minimize those in-person doc visits to "get results." This is tiresome and expensive and with the new approaches, can be eliminated in many cases.

In any case, the doctor has only 30 days under the new regs to meet with you if he or she thinks this is warranted.

In some instances, say an HIV test, the doctor may want to be present to explain and reassure.

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