Patient Portals & Medical Test Results: a Potential for Confusion

Just 20 years ago, you had to wait on your physician’s call to hear the results of medical tests, but since the beginning of this century, healthcare facilities have rolled out private patient portals that allow you to view your results as soon as they are entered into the system. That’s the good news. The downside is that patients sometimes view results before the physician can, and patients sometimes become distressed by what they think they are reading. Paragon Orthopedic Center has experienced this with MRI’s and CT scans. It’s rare, but sometimes our physicians find something that was never expected in these tests, and for a patient to discover this information alone, it can cause great anxiety. It is good to remember that reading the results with your physician can help you interpret the results in context. Physicians they can see trends and use their knowledge to help you pay attention to the important results, not focusing on something that might appear significant, but truly is not.

The Wall Street Journal covered this recently and is a good examination of the issue, as well as what you can do. Read more here:

You’re Seeing Medical Test Results Before Your Doctor Does. Why? (