Should there be a law requiring patients to receive copies of their test results?

There is legislation pending in Pennsylvania that would make it a law for patients to receive actual copies of their test reports.

I don’t have much of a problem with that, as patients certainly have a right to the information. However, it may be difficult for patients not versed in medical language to discern incidental findings from results that require more immediate attention.

Doctors can certainly do a better job in communicating test results. I’m not sure handing patients the raw test data, which without physician interpretation may lead to increased anxiety over findings that aren’t necessarily dangerous, is the best way to do that.

topics: tests, patients

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