This is a good ruling and one that’s been hanging out there for discussion and a change for a long time.  Technology and the way labs are reported and are available had someimage impact here too I believe.  If you go on the Quest site you can register as a patient to receive your lab results but your doctor had to release them first so now there’s one less step here for the doctor as well.  As patient though you may still of course need to consult with your doctor for any treatment plans based on the lab results. 

It’s been a while since I have been on the Quest website but they are pretty good with consumer centric general explanations of what the lab results are for and give you good general information about the test so you are not totally blinded either from understanding what kind of test it is.  BD 

The final rule amends the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) regulations to give patients (or their representatives) direct access to the patient's laboratory test reports.  At the same time, the final rule eliminates the exception under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule to an individual's right to access his or her protected health information when it is held by a CLIA-certified or CLIA-exempt laboratory that is prohibited by law from providing such access.  In combination, these changes will require laboratories to provide patients access to their test reports. It does not require laboratories to interpret test results, and they may refer individuals back to their health provider for this information.

"Patient engagement is essential to creating a healthcare system that delivers better health outcomes at lower costs," said Jon Cohen, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer, Quest Diagnostics. "HHS's final rule means millions of Americans who previously could not access their laboratory and other health care data from clinical laboratory companies like Quest can now do so without first requiring the approval of their healthcare provider. That's a huge win for patients who want to take responsibility for their healthcare and engage in a richer dialogue with their providers in the interest of making informed clinical decisions."


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