Perspectives of Patients About Immediate Access to Test Results Through an Online Patient Portal

What do 8000 patients think about the immediate release of test results since the 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule on information blocking? 96% preferred receiving immediately released results online even if their health care practitioner had not yet reviewed the result. (and more!)

Steitz et al article in JAMA Network Open: Perspectives of Patients about Immediate Access to Test Results

This collaboration between UT Southwestern, Vanderbilt, Beth Israel Deaconness and UCHealth surveyed over 43,000 patients, with 8139 respondents (18% response rate).

Thanks to Drs. Steitz, Turer, MacDonald, Rosenbloom, DesRoches for close collaboration, and to all team members, including the excellent Chief Patient Information Officer, Liz Salmi, for perspectives, insights and enthusiasm. This was a fun project to be part of.

It is the largest analysis of patient portal users’ attitudes about seeing test results immediately. Some key findings:

    • The survey findings suggest that patients and care partners who use the portal overwhelmingly prefer to have immediate access to test results, even if it means viewing them prior to discussing with their care team.
    • This holds true even among patients who reported that their tests were abnormal.
    • Despite the preference to continue immediately receiving test results, abnormal test results were associated with increased worry among respondents.
    • There was a non-significant protective association between whether a clinician discussed the reason for and implications of the test at the time of ordering and reduced patient worry.

CMIO’s take? Another push towards information transparency with patients. 96% of an 8000 patient survey indicate that they prefer having immediate access to test results, even if their physician/APP had not seen the result, and even if the result was abnormal. Some respondents did worry more with abnormal results, and there is an opportunity for us to improve our tools and workflow for those patients.

Author: CT Lin

CMIO, UCHealth (Colorado); Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

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