By Christopher Burrow, MD, EVP Medical Affairs, Humetrix
A revolution is taking place in healthcare, arming all of us with much more information every time we interact with our doctors, hospitals and other clinicians.
Sometimes, it feels like patients are at the mercy of the healthcare system and are at a disadvantage because they don't have all of their medical information handy. We're always waiting for lab reports, and for a healthcare provider to share the information with us. Often communications feel totally one-sided, with the doctor's office holding all of our medical information and the patient looking over their shoulder to see their own medical history on the screen.
Beginning next week, we all have the right to access our lab reports electronically, directly from the labs. The new regulations from the Department of Health & Human Services include all 50 states and require that labs provide patients with electronic access to test results. You will no longer have to wait for your doctor to call you with test results - labs will be required to provide them directly to you. Labs must be in full compliance by October 7, 2014. And with access to mobile apps like iBlueButton, you can have them sent directly to your smartphone so you have them at your fingertips when you do see your doctor.
This new regulation is a game-changer - and will dramatically increase patients' ability to be informed partners in making healthcare decisions as it goes into effect over the next few months. We will all have the ability to track our own results, share them with other medical professionals and maintain a full set of our health data. The need for patients to get involved by obtaining their medical records has never been more urgent. A recent estimate suggests as many as 400,000 preventable deaths occur in US hospitals each year - many of them the result of incomplete medical information.
This new ruling helps put the patient in the driver’s seat when it comes to sharing healthcare information and will improve healthcare outcomes by providing more control over our own healthcare data.
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