For those of us who are trying to develop, maintain, and use a comprehensive patient health record (PHR)–whether it be paper or electronic, using a notebook, file system, HealthVault, or some other electronic PHR–this is really good news: finally, patients have a right to access their test results.
This significant development, which has been a long-time coming*, is heralded and explained on e-patient.net by health care lawyer and consultant, David Harlow, who chairs the Society for Participatory Medicine’s public policy committee.
As you and I and many other HealthVault users may know, the results of tests contracted out by our healthcare providers to LabCorp can be automatically accessed via the LabCorp Beacon: Patient website and transmitted automatically to a HealthVault PHR via an associated HealthVault app. But for most of us, for most of our tests run by our health providers or other lab services (e.g., LabFirst), test results have not been accessible to us, electronically, even though some information about the tests has been available.
For example, my BlueCross/BlueShield (FEP) insurer recently offered a new PHR (provided by WedMD health services). The dates and names of all lab tests performed and submitted for payment appear in the WebMD PHR, but no test results. And even though I may have the results via other means (electronically from LabCorp or on paper from my physician), it appears that it is not possible for me to enter the test results in my WebMD PHR, which is possible in my HealthVault PHR.
So with the new, federally mandated right to access lab results, by October 2014 we should be able to access the results from contracted labs and/or from our healthcare providers and insurers, preferably electronically–hopefully, entered automatically–in the PHR provided by them or in our HealthVault PHR.