KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

New Rule Allows Patients Direct Access To Lab Results

The Obama administration released new regulations Monday that would allow patients to get test results without going through their doctor first. The rules are part of an effort to empower patients and give them more control over their health care.

The Washington Post: New Rule Allows Patients To Get Test Results Directly From Labs, Without Doctors' Clearance
Patients may obtain their test results directly from the laboratory that produced them, without having to go through their doctors first, under regulations announced Monday by the Obama administration. The rule is part of a broader effort by the administration to give Americans more control over their health care. It supersedes state law and will have particular significance in 13 states that forbid labs from releasing test results directly to patients (Somashekhar, 2/3).

USA Today: Patients May Now Get Lab Results Without A Doctor’s Help
Patients or their representatives may now see their medical test results directly from the laboratory, rather than having to request them from a doctor's office, according to a new rule announced Monday. "Information like lab results can empower patients to track their health progress, make decisions with their health care professionals and adhere to important treatment plans," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said (Kennedy, 2/3).

Kaiser Health News: New Rule Gives Patients Direct Access To Their Lab Reports
But HHS said the rule helps ensure patients have full access to their health information and can be proactive in their choices for care. The rule also notes that studies have found “physician practices failed to inform patients of abnormal test results about seven percent of the time, resulting in a substantial number of patients not being informed by their providers of clinically significant tests results" (Rao, 2/4).

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