NY Times (10/3/22): Your Medical Test Results Are Available. But Do You Want to View Them?
“A provision in the 21st Century Cures Act, a federal law ….requires all medical testing centers to release results to patients “without delay.” In practice, this means that doctors and patients often receive results simultaneously — and some patients are seeing them before their doctors have a chance to look…
Its intention was to bring health care into the modern era. And the provision has successfully given patients easy access to their medical records, empowering them to play a more active role in their care by eliminating the doctor as gatekeeper.
But it has also led to experiences … in which patients are confronted with material they never wanted to see. Some have learned about life-altering diagnoses and developments — from cancer to chronic illness to miscarriage — through emails and online portals, left to process the information alone…
When difficult, life-changing information is delivered in this way, “it cuts off any opportunity for doctors to get ahead of things,” said Dr. Emily Porter, an emergency room and sexual health physician in Austin, Texas, who has criticized the policy on social media.”
My take: I would prefer that physicians have a short period (~24 hrs) to see test results so that we can inform families and provide context. Currently, at times, I get panicked messages through MyChart from families regarding results, even in cases in which the results are fine.
Related blog posts: