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February 3, 2014 Headlines 3 Comments

HHS strengthens patients’ right to access lab test reports

HHS announces changes to both HIPAA and the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 that will result in patients being able to access their laboratory results directly from the lab, rather than from the doctor that ordered the tests.

Can Healthcare IT (HIT) Deliver Value? (Part II)

David Levin, CMIO of Cleveland Clinic, discusses the ROI of health IT projects and concludes that health IT project planning tends to focus on building ideal workflows rather than realizing cost reductions or outcomes improvements. He says “if you don’t know where you expect to achieve value and you don’t have a specific plan to get there, you probably won’t.”

Health information for more than 40,000 Unity members missing

Researchers at University of Wisconsin lose an unencrypted hard drive containing the personal information of 40,000 Unity health insurance customers. The researchers had the hard drive because they were working with Unity on a benefits analysis project.

Exploring the Value of Health IT on HIMSS14 Exhibition Floor

HIMSS releases new details on the HIMSS14 Exhibit hall. New exhibits include: a startup showcase hall for first-time HIMSS exhibitors, an Intelligent Medical Home model demonstrating home monitoring solutions and real-time data exchange between the medical home and a mock hospital unit, and a revamped interoperability demonstration.

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. It’s always seemed ridiculous (and I’ve experienced this myself as a physician-patient) that the patient is the one who actually PAYS for the testing but the results were always held hostage by physicians who acted as if it was THEIR test that they paid for (and usually demanded a return office visit).

    BTW, the link to the unpublished rule is https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/02/06/2014-02280/patients-access-to-test-reports-clia-program-and-hipaa-privacy-rule

  2. That’s fair TAMTR, but as a physician, don’t you worry about your patient getting sensitive or confusing results directly from Quest or Labcorp before you’ve had a chance to explain the significance of them? Genuinely curious . . .

  3. I do not believe that ALL patients should routinely receive their unvarnished lab reports, but that if patients explicitly request them, there should be NO barriers to receiving the results, even before the physician reviews the result. For those motivated/informed patients, they can always discuss the results with their physician for more-informed interpretation if they are confused or do not know the consequences. That’s what physicians do, and not be patriarchal and dispense the patient’s bought and paid for test results as they see fit.

    It’s been my experience as a patient to get copies of all my lab reports from all practices for MY integrated medical record (because it does not exist anywhere else) and the barriers and pushbacks to do that, especially from practice staffs, has been astounding.

    I also do not like having a test drawn, knowing the results are available the next morning, and having to wait 4-5 days for the office to call me back, and if I call first, to be told the doctor has not seen them yet, and they’ll get back to me when he/she has “looked them over”. That’s irritating and disturbing as a physician-patient and there are motivated/informed/intelligent patients who should receive the reports simultaneously with the clinician, no matter what the consequences. It is THEIR report.

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