A new federal rule announced by the Department of Health and Human Services requires clinical laboratories to allow patients access to their own lab-test results upon request. Officials say this type of information can empower patients to track their health progress and make decisions with health-care providers. What does it mean for you?
Some physician groups including the American Medical Association expressed concern regarding how patients would react to test results without a doctor’s explanation. The law gives labs 30 days to comply with a patient request so there is time for physicians to contact patients first.
Studies show that nearly a quarter of all abnormal lab results are not communicated to patients in a timely manner. This may be an oversight from doctor’s offices, but patients may assume that their results are normal if they do not hear from their provider. This new ruling is a way to decrease this occurrence and allow patients another means of accessing their test results. The ruling does not mean that providers are no longer responsible for sharing test results with patients, it is a key that they share the results and communicate exactly what those results mean to patients and their health.
To read the complete Wall Street Journal article published on the law, click here.