Floridians frustrated by the state’s past restriction on access to their lab results, can take heart. As part of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), residents can now get their own test results directly from the lab.
No more hanging by the phone, anxiously waiting for a call from the doctor or her nurse for a report and no more arguing with the lab that as the patient, the results are, in fact, yours.
The new rule, announced earlier this month and published in the Federal Register is part of the administration’s belief that patients need more control over their own health care.
“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,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
The rule supersedes state laws like those in Florida and 14 other states (Rhode Island, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Wyoming, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New York) that have prohibited labs from releasing test reports directly to the patient without the ordering provider’s consent.
Most physicians contacted for this article support the new rule because it encourages patients to be more empowered with respect to their own healthcare. All say they plan to continue to be proactively engaged in monitoring results, reaching out to patients when an ordered test is abnormal.