Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Instant Lab Results

I recently blogged about the prospect of patients getting access to their laboratory results before the ordering clinician signs off on it. This certainly is a patient-centric approach but is it a wise one?

I am mostly in favor of this however, many details still need to be worked out. In our forthcoming electronic health records world, this may be the tip of the iceberg related to patient-centricity and access to their record.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and concerns.


veggiern said...

I can see how empowering it would be to be able to see your own lab results, especially for people managing chronic illness that actually know a lot about their disease and their medications. Then of course, the concern is that labs are just numbers, and can be misinterpreted, especially by people without much medical knowledge. Thanks for posting about this. I just started my MSN to become an FNP and happened upon your blog. It's great! Thanks :)

Stephen Ferrara, DNP, RN, NP said...

Thanks for reading and good luck on your road to the FNP!


Anonymous said...

Interesting notion, but people can take lab results and interpret them in unhealthy ways, often with the assistance of Google search. The results should be interpreted by a doctor, and explained to a patient, thus inhibiting any unnecessary panic or apathy by those with medically illiterate eyes.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your anonymous friend. Providing a copy of the patient's lab results WITH your interpretation creates a culture of collaboration, mutual respect and empowerment. Without the interpretation, I'm afraid you'd spend half your day on the phone trying to correct fears and misunderstandings after a night reading WebMD.

Anonymous said...

Having access to one's own lab work and medical record should be allowed in my opinion. This is one method of empowering our patients to be their own advocates and promoting self care. However, I agree that the patient's health care provider (NP, PA, or MD, DO) should review, interpret, and comment on the results in all circumstances(whether before or after) the patient sees the results. Patients should request and (expect) such from their providers. Lab results are just numbers and normal findings don't necessarily mean that all is well. Abnormal findings don't always mean impending doom. We must interpret the results in the context of the patient's individual circumstances-their story and physical exam. We must also remember that the mind, body, and spirit work in concert......anticipate the potential distress if abnormal findings are viewed by the patient without an understanding of the meaning......anticipatory guidance.....(.talk to your patients) goes a long way.