Last month, the federal government took a major step toward enhancing the ability of millions of Americans to access their health data and improve patient engagement as we know it in the U.S.
HHS issued a final rule that gives patients direct access to their personal laboratory information without first requiring the approval of their healthcare provider or other designated party. Before this rule, about a dozen states—including California, Florida and New York—prohibited direct patient access to their lab test results without their doctor's prior receipt and approval.
This rule is significant for a number of reasons. Enabling patients to access their results directly from their lab provider will help reduce the risk that an abnormal result will not get acted upon. In a recent multi-institutional study, about 7.1% of abnormal results reportedly were not acted upon or communicated to patients.