Emergency physicians' views of direct notification of laboratory and radiology results to patients using the internet: a multisite survey.
Approach to Improving Safety
Setting of Care
Providing test results directly to patients is one way in which enhanced patient engagement could improve safety, as failure to appropriately follow up on test results is a recognized cause of diagnostic errors. Accomplishing this will require endorsement from physicians, and this survey examines the attitudes of Australian emergency physicians regarding direct provision of test results to patients. The majority of physicians expressed discomfort with patients having direct access to test results, mainly because physicians feared patients would experience undue anxiety or lack the knowledge necessary to interpret the results. More physicians supported providing patients with direct access to normal test results than abnormal test results, mirroring the findings of a prior survey of primary care providers. Physicians were more supportive of direct release of test results if it would decrease their own workload. The results of this survey reveal the need for careful exploration of the best methods to increase patient engagement without disregarding clinicians' concerns. A previous AHRQ WebM&M interview with Dave deBronkart discussed allowing patients to access their medical records.