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As Meaningful Use rolls out, and providers are required to share data with us, there are a lot of concerns about whether their lives will spin out of control as patients besiege them with ignorant questions. We’ve discussed this in our many posts about the OpenNotes project and about releasing lab results directly to patients.

Now we have the first update on this for radiology. Longtime friend Ted Eytan MD, who taught me (by example) much of what I know about blogging, shares some results from Group Health in Seattle, where he used to work.

Titled “What Group Health Physicians are saying about sharing imaging test results with patients – 1 year later,” the post cites the words of two physicians. Here’s a taste – see the original post for the full context:

Dr. Marty Levine:

… For the vast majority of patients, they like having access to the information, and they end up being more informed.

It also incentivizes radiologists to develop standard ways to describe images knowing their records will be viewed by patients…

Dr. Jerry Rice:

… The number of extra calls, emails etc has been very limited and I think the opposite (that is not getting calls to just be sure it’s okay for negative studies) has been an invisible benefit.

It also is a secondary check. The patients will sometimes take more responsibility for followup etc and it helps less fall through the cracks. …

Let patients help make policies.

Seems to me, it’s no coincidence that Group Health was created by patients (in 1949), for their purposes, and continues to be governed by patients. Whenever there’s a question of what would happen if patients made the decisions, I look to Group Health. Read more about them here.


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